It may come as surprise to some Christians that the main purpose of the Day of Pentecost was not to make speaking in tongues available to believers. The experience was certainly part of the package, as is clearly seen in Acts chapter 2, but when Jesus taught his disciples about what was about to happen, only once did he mention speaking in a "new tongue" (Mark 16:17) and that was on the day of his Ascension. I speak in tongues, as do millions of Christians, and I encourage others to do so. But this experience is not the "be all and end all" of the Christian life.

Pentecost tongues of fireLet's look again at what Jesus said about the coming Day of Pentecost and see if he reveals its purpose. "For John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now" (Acts 1:5 ESV). The word "baptized" means to be covered wholly with a fluid, to be totally immersed in the subject, here with John it is water, and with spirit "not many days from now." In Luke's gospel he speaks of being "clothed with power from on high" (Luke 24:49 ESV), completely covered with power. This is therefore stronger, more comprehensive than having the spirit for just a period of time for a particular task, as in the Old Testament. In John's gospel we learn that "the Spirit of truth... dwells with you and will be in you," that is, within the believer (John 14:17).

"Whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father" (John 14:12). It is difficult to believe this means greater in quality but certainly can mean greater in quantity. Instead of just a few people, thousands times thousands would be doing the same works as Jesus did.  Read More 

One of the most intriguing events in the period between the Resurrection and Ascension of Christ took place on Resurrection Day. Just about every preacher would love to have been there, or at least been a fly on the wall and overhear the conversation. It is briefly mentioned in Mark 16:12, "After these things he appeared in another form to two of them, as they were walking into the country" (ESV).

The Road to Emmaus (Zund)A more complete account is given in Luke 24:13-25. "That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles [11 km] from Jerusalem, and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened" (verses 13-14). "They were deep in conversation..." (Message Bible), "they communed" (ASV) and reasoned, as the Greek text uses a different word from "talking" or "speaking." "This term suggests emotional dialogue and can thus be translated 'debated'" (NET Bible).  Read More 

In the 40 days between the resurrection and ascension of Christ, there are records of many witnesses to the facts. In our last newsletter I wrote of the necessity of the resurrection and how the early church made it the center of their preaching. Let's go back for a moment to this period when the resurrected Christ walked on this earth.

"He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God" (Acts 1:3 ESV). On one occasion He appeared to "over 500" believers (I Corinthians 15:6), and to the disciples both individually and collectively many times.  Read More