Anointed Without Distinction
Christopher B. Harbin
We are celebrating Pentecost on the wrong week. Then again, there are aspects of Pentecost we should be celebrating every Sunday, even as we celebrate Jesus' death and resurrection every time we meet together. Our calendar is helpful, but sometimes it gets us focused on the wrong things, becoming a distraction from what is truly important. We are already too distracted from the important things. We don't need any more help in that department.
God's Breath, or Spirit, came upon the disciples at Pentecost. We recall the story of disciples speaking in tongues and the surprise of the populace, causing many to marvel and ask questions, however ludicrous some may have been. Like many of them, we also get distracted with signs and wonders and miss the importance of the event, the message to be heard, the meaning it has for our lives and the lives of so many others. Pentecost marked a sea change in God's dealings with humanity. Jesus had pointed to it in conversation with the disciples. The coming of the Spirit, however, ushered in a new era of God's unmediated presence and anointing that not even the disciples were really prepared to accept.
Peter quoted from Joel 2 in his sermon. He referred to a passage most Jews knew well, though many found uncomfortable. They liked portions of Joel's message, but would rather ignore other parts. Unfortunately for some, it was those other parts Peter chose to stress. It is those same other parts that have tended to cause us difficulty over the centuries since.
By and large every Jew anticipated the coming of Joel's "Day of the Lord." They looked forward to the political and economic restoration of Israel. It is what the disciples had just asked Jesus about in Acts 1:6, "Is this the day on which you restore the fortunes of Israel?" Oh, yes, they were ready for that! They were anxious for Israel to enjoy freedom from Roman occupation, economic ...
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