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Illumination, not intoxication

Joel 2:28-32

Pastor David Ernst

Epiphany Lutheran Mission of La Caramuca  
Barinas, Venezuela

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Sun, May 23, 2021 

Grace and peace in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

The second chapter of Acts is the account of the fulfillment of the promise of our Lord in the Gospel for today (John 14: 23-31): "But the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, He he will teach all things, and will remind you of all that I have told you. " Notice, in these verses we can see not only the Holy Spirit, but the Holy Trinity in action. The Father sends the Holy Spirit in the name of Jesus. Jesus did not come to glorify himself but the Father and the Holy Spirit came to teach and remind the disciples of all that Jesus had said. None of the persons of the holy Trinity act independently of the others, but always in concert.

The Holy Spirit did not come to invent new doctrines that are not among the teachings of Jesus. His role is to clear the mind and help the disciples to understand these teachings correctly and give them the true interpretation of the words and miracles of Jesus Christ.

Therefore, on the day of Pentecost, the disciples were not intoxicated by wine or the Spirit. On an Old Testament holiday that celebrates the gifts and works of God, the disciples first publicly testified of the acts of God that inaugurated the last days of the world. On the fiftieth day after Passover, Pentecost was a day of thanksgiving for the wheat and barley crops, and also for the giving of the Law to Moses on Mount Sinai. It was a celebration of all the covenants that God had made with men from Noah to Moses. That is why faithful Jews from all over the Roman Empire had gathered in Jerusalem.

As the spokesman for the apostles, Peter purposely raised his voice to make himself understood by the entire audience. It was only the third hour of the day now, nine in the morning, and therefore the hour itself made it highly unlikely that these men were drunk. Nine o'clock was the time for morning prayer and it preceded breakfast by an hour. When those around them heard the disciples' testimony in their own languages, the words were meaningless to them. So they thought the disciples were drunk, even though the disciples spoke seriously and reverently.

It was not madness to speak in tongues, but to reveal God's truth. The manifestation they had witnessed was due to the Spirit of God, in fulfillment of Joel's prophecy. People of all nationalities and of all ranks and positions in life would become partakers of the Spirit and its wonderful gifts.

Joel, Petuel's son, is known only from his book of prophecy. According to the evidence in the book, the prophet lived after the return of the Jews from exile to the Promised Land and after the reforms of Ezra and Nehemiah, but before the time of Alexander the Great. The occasion of his prophecy was a locust plague of unprecedented magnitude in the country. Joel interpreted this plague as God's judgment and called the people to repentance for their sins. The prophet also asked the people to see in the plague a sign of the coming of the great day of the Lord. His prophecy of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the last days that was quoted by Peter with the emphasis on the outpouring of the Spirit as a gift designated by God to work repentance before the day of the Lord's coming.

In the messianic period, the Spirit will be poured out on men of every race and nation. Eliminating the barriers of sex and age, and also on the most humble of the earth.

And this phenomenon would not be limited to a single occasion, but would continue until the day of judgment. Bloodshed and the devastation of war would precede that last great day of the Lord. The hideous aspects of the end of the world are shown here to the astonished gaze of the crowd, like a cry of warning to repentance.

But in the meantime, there is also a glorious promise for all who turn to the Lord in repentance and faith, and fervently call on his name as the only Savior. Christians live in the time of the fulfillment of Joel's prophecy, in the time of Pentecost in the New Testament. The preaching of Christ, started by the humble fishermen of Galilee, has spread throughout the world. And through this Gospel the exalted Christ, God Himself, is sending, pouring out the Spirit of him. The crucified Christ, now exalted at the right hand of God, is the almighty God.

He is gathering for himself his church from all the nations of the world. Sons and daughters, old and young, servants and maidens, receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. And although the work of the Spirit is not manifested in the same way as in the early days of the Church, in visions, dreams, prophecies, the Spirit lives in the hearts of believers and gives them the knowledge of Jesus Christ, their Savior, and He urges them to speak out about what they believe so strongly and call on the name of the Lord. The outpouring of the Spirit is the last of God's great miracles until the great day of his return to Judgment. Meanwhile, we have the comfort that our salvation is secure in Him.

May the peace that passes all understanding be with you. Amen.

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