DRUNK...ON THE HOLY SPIRIT
"Parthians, Medes.....even Cretans and Arabs!
"'They're speaking our languages, describing God's mighty works.' "Their heads were spinning. They couldn't make head or tail of any of it. Thry talked back and forth, confused. 'What's going on here?'
"'Others joked, 'They're drunk on cheap wine.'" Acts 2:9-13 (The Message).
Confusion again! But the disciples were not confused - they had it all together for the first time. They had finally got it and were focussed on the right thing - the mighty works of God.
No doubt they were telling the startled bystanders about Jesus, about His death and resurrection and about the forgiveness of sins and the kingdom of God. As usual, there was a mixed reaction from the crowd. Some of them had no clue what was happening. They watched and listened with open mouths to these crazy people, mostly uneducated Galileans, who were now speaking their languages fluently and eloquently.
As usual, there were the sceptics and mockers among them who could not see beyond the end of their cynical noses. 'Drunk!' was their diagnosis, 'and so early in the morning.' They neither heard what they were saying, did they process it for their own benefit. They simply wrote them off as drunk and laughed at them.
Did the disciples know what they were saying? Probably not at first. They were simply celebrating this unique experience in the best way they knew how, by shouting out their joy, not realising that in it was a message and a sign for all the people around them. No longer would they secrete themselves behind closed doors. They had a story to tell to the world and the energy of the Holy Spirit to tell it in power and truth.
By sending the Holy Spirit to be in them forever, God had initiated a partnership which guaranteed the effectiveness of their mission no matter where they went or what barriers and obstacles they met on the way. The same power that saturated Jesus was now saturating them and all those who would follow after them.
Why do we see so little of the evidence of Jesus' presence in many parts of the church today? I guess there are many reasons why the church had slipped from being an exuberant organism to a sterile organization. Hosea's diagnosis for Israel's dismal failure to represent God to the world still holds: "My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge." Hosea 4:6 (NIV)
Some groups, still believing that they are part of the church, have become nothing more than followers of a religion, practising rituals and keeping rules which have twisted the simple message and mission of Jesus so out of shape that it is no longer recognisable. Others have gone off the track, chasing the rabbits of theology, prosperity, titles and authority, and even mystical experiences, or majoring on minors to the extent that Jesus is buried under a thousand additions.
The early church experienced the undiluted power of the Holy Spirit working in and through them because they were in partnership with Him. They said what He said, did what He did and went where He sent them just like Jesus had done. Their eyes were on Jesus, their ears listened for His voice and their hearts were for Him.
Why have we lost the plot? Lack of knowledge! We have relied on others to tell us how to live and what to do instead of soaking ourselves in God's Word and sticking to the simplicity of what Jesus taught and modelled. We have the same Spirit as He had, and we have the Written Word to guide us - therefore we have no excuse for being so far from the truth.
It is imperative for the church to get back to Jesus' command, 'Follow me.' Imagine what could happen in the world it we did!
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