"For Christ bore our sins, and not His own, When He on the cross was hanging; And then He arose and moved the stone, That we, unto Him belonging, Might join with angelic hosts to raise, Our voices in endless singing.
"God came to us then at Pentecost, His Spirit new life revealing, That we might no more from Him be lost, All darkness for us dispelling. His flame will the mark of sin efface, And bring to us all His healing."
Our hymn's "day full of grace" is the festival of Pentecost, the Jewish Feast of Weeks held seven weeks after Passover. Pentecost was a harvest festival during which the first fruits of the harvest were offered to God as devout Jews "from every nation under heaven" gathered in Jerusalem (Acts 2:5b). After Jesus' ascension, His disciples waited in Jerusalem for the promised gift of the Holy Spirit. On Pentecost Sunday, our hymns and Scripture readings direct our attention to the work of the Spirit.
We rightly celebrate the Spirit's work, but the Spirit does not call attention to Himself. Jesus said of the Holy Spirit, "He will glorify Me" (John 16:14a). In wind and fire, the disciples received the promised Spirit and on that day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit glorified Jesus. The disciple Peter spoke to the gathered crowd, proclaiming the Good News of Jesus the Messiah, who had been delivered up to death "according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God" (Acts 2:23b). Peter said of the crucified Savior, "God raised Him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for Him to be held by it" (Acts 2:24b). Death could not hold the Son of God; Jesus had no sins of His own for which He deserved to die. On the cross, "Christ bore our sins and not His own." Now we, who have been buried and raised with Him by faith, "raise our voices in endless singing," as we join in the Spirit's work of glorifying Jesus.
In Christ Jesus, God came to us in human flesh, born among us to live and die and rise for our salvation. "God came to us then at Pentecost" as Jesus poured out the promised Spirit on His disciples. Still today the Spirit glorifies Jesus, revealing the new life that is ours by faith. The Spirit calls us through the Word of the Gospel. He creates faith in our hearts, "all darkness for us dispelling," and brings us healing from our sins.
Pentecost was a harvest festival, a time to offer up first fruits to God. On Pentecost, the Holy Spirit glorified the Savior as people from every nation under heaven heard the Gospel and a harvest of about three thousand souls was gathered into the church. The Spirit is still at work in the proclamation of the Gospel. More and more people come to faith, as God continues to add to the Pentecost harvest of that day full of grace.
THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, help us to be bold witnesses for You so that the harvest of souls will increase to Your glory. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler. It is based on the hymn "O Day Full of Grace," which is number 503 in the Lutheran Service Book.
1. Can you relate a time when you experienced the Holy Spirit's activity in your life?
2. Why do you think God chose the time He did for the Holy Spirit to visit the disciples in Jerusalem?
3. How does the Holy Spirit work in the world today?
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