Suddenly/Supernaturally: Reading Acts 2:1-4

It is natural to desire change.  In American culture failed resolutions are epidemic.  Tomorrow will be different.  We awake to a new day, in the same city, with the same people, with the same trees . . . and like birds in migration, we instinctively walk the same paths.  Wanting to change is natural.  Yet living the pattern is instinctive.  This is what makes truly living the sequel most difficult. 

In film, sequels often present the same characters set in the same scenes as they were in previous episodes.  Most of the time our surroundings are inescapable.  Yet to truly live the sequel, if the next chapters of our lives are to become their own epic story, something must change.  If changing our environment is not possible, the locus of change must be us.  Yet how can we ever truly become anything other than who we are?  It seems unlikely and unnatural. 

If change is so unnatural, then for us to begin a new sequence of life that becomes its own epic story we need something to suddenly and supernaturally to initiate the sequel.  We need something more powerful than our own resolve.  We need new strength, a new cause, a new life.

The broken witnesses of Acts 1 desire change.  Jesus told them to wait for it.  Jerusalem is not unfamiliar.  Neither is Pentecost.  The opening scenes of the Jesus sequel are very natural.  Peter has helped them make sense of tragedy, Matthias is now number 12 . . . it is easy to lose the first three pounds, to be more productive for a month, to begin a book, to spend less in the New Year when you’ve just bought everything at Christmas. . . but at some point we are overwhelmed by instinct.  Acts 1 is easy.  Jerusalem has been the same old city for centuries.  Pentecost comes every year.  Is there any assurance for Peter, for the broken witnesses, or for any of us that we can begin a new epic story, that we can truly live the sequel? 

“And suddenly . . .”

As subtly as the sequel seemed to begin, suddenly/supernaturally, everything about the broken witnesses changed.  They heard a sound from Heaven like wind, but it was not wind.  They saw what appeared to be fire, but it was not fire.  What was it?  “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit . . .”  Supernaturally, God changed them. 

To receive salvation and the gift of the Holy Spirit we need to take the posture of Matthias.  Surrender our will to God and become candidates.  For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved (Joel 2:32). 

It is important to remember that the sequel is not ours, it is His.  Peter will be an important character.  So will we.  But at best we are playing supporting roles.  This is not a bad thing, it is the right thing.  For a people that struggle to change, the only way to live a new epic story is to be changed.  The Jesus sequel then becomes millions of individual stories, a diverse, eclectic mix of people, all united by one.  For those who choose to live the Jesus sequel He redeems their story and connects them with His story by giving them the Holy Spirit.  As subtle and unchanged as the scene may be - after all it is Jerusalem; Pentecost comes every year, you will wake up tomorrow to the same people, in the same city, with the same trees - supernaturally, within the context, we are changed.  He has given us His Spirit.  To live the sequel something suddenly/supernaturally must change.  We have been born again (John 3).

A new season of salvation begins.  Suddenly/supernaturally, we are in the sequel. 


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