by Christopher Harbin

Spiritual Commencement
Christopher B. Harbin
Psalm 104:24-34; John 15:26-27; Acts 2:1-21; Eph 1:15-23

Today is a day of celebration. We are celebrating our graduates and their achievements. They have toiled, studied, and completed coursework to arrive at this time of recognition of their efforts and achievements. We pause to celebrate their preparation and beginning a new phase of life. Graduation is not an endpoint. It is a beginning.

As much as we look to graduation as the completion of a series of levels and stages, it is a launching pad-commencement into the new stage of life beyond the one just completed. It is a sign of transition to a new phase of life. It was always hard for me to associate my graduations with beginnings. It seems much more natural to consider the closing of a chapter in life. Yet graduation is that celebration at the threshold-the turning of a page into life beyond the open door.

In the life of the early disciples, today marks a commencement, as well. Pentecost-a Jewish festival day of first fruits fifty days after Passover-was a celebration of God's provision in the spring of the year. The spring crops were beginning to come in, and the people celebrated God's gift of harvest. For the disciples gathered together, it was more than just that. It was the day on which the prophecy of Joel came to fruition as God's Spirit was poured upon the disciples to mark the coming of a new era.

Jesus had recently physically left the disciples after the resurrection, departing to heaven with the promise of the Spirit's coming and a mission of witness to be fulfilled. They had been charged to remain in Jerusalem for this day in which they would be covered in power by the Breath of God. They would then be enabled to bear witness to Jesus. This was their mission-the purpose of their calling. They were to bear witness to Christ Jesus before the nations far and near.

They were hardly prepared for such a grand task. They certainly did not feel ...

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