Pentecost is an amazing story. Some have called it the birthday of the church, and some say it is the day when Jesus’ disciples were filled with power and courage to preach and share the message of Christ’s death and resurrection.

The gospel writer Luke pays special attention to the person and role of the Holy Spirit. Remember that the Spirit was active even before the day of Pentecost. Look at these references: “And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed, ‘Blessed are you (Mary) among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.’ (Luke 1:41-42) “Then his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke, Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for God has looked favorably on his people and redeemed them.” (Luke 1:67-68)

Jesus did say to his disciples, “Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away … if I go, I will send the Advocate to you.” (John 16:7) Perhaps we can understand that when Christ left the world bodily, he sent the Spirit as a permanent indwelling presence to comfort and empower us as disciples.

What I find so fascinating about the Pentecost story is that as the Spirit filled the disciples, and as Peter preached his sermon, 3000 persons were added to the fellowship of believers. Peter’s sermon lasted about 2-3 minutes, yet the response was amazing. Look at the sermon and read it out loud, Acts 2:14-36. Know what I think? We need shorter sermons and more Holy Spirit power.