Guy Prentiss Waters Writes:
Some Christians understand the events of Pentecost to supply a normative pattern of Christian experience in all generations. Christians, it is argued, should desire and even pursue the ‘baptism of the Spirit’—a fuller, richer experience of the Holy Spirit—one evidence of which is speaking in tongues. We have observed the Scripture pointing in a different direction. Pentecost stands among the other unique and unrepeatable works of Jesus Christ: his death, resurrection, and ascension. It marks the fulfillment both of Old Testament expectation and of Jesus’ promise to send the Spirit to his church. It is no more replicable than Jesus’ death, resurrection, or ascension.
In putting matters this way, we should not conclude that Pentecost has no application to the contemporary church, much less to our Christian lives.Three lines of application are evident from our passage.
First, Pentecost means that Jesus has saved sinners from the judgment they deserve and for the blessings that he purchased for them. The tongues of fire that divided and fell on each of the disciples did not consume them because Jesus had endured the fire of God’s judgment at the cross. These believers experience, therefore, blessing and only blessing from the hand of God. Pentecost reminds us that there is ‘no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus’ and that ‘the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ ... has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places’ (Rom. 8:1; Eph. 1:3).
Second, Pentecost means that God in Christ has reversed the curse of Babel. Although the world is fractured and torn apart by differences of language, ethnicity, and culture, the church is the one place where true human unity—in Christ—can be realized and seen. God does not save individuals in isolation from one another. United to their Saviour they are also united to one another. When Christians commit to promote gospel peace and unity in the church, especially in the face of those differences that can divide, they commend that gospel to a watching world.
Third, Pentecost means that the Spirit is available to God’s people in fresh and continuing supply.The tasks and commands that God has given us in his Word would be impossible for us to observe were it not for the help and strength of the Spirit. Thankfully, we have our Saviour’s promise that the Father ‘will give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him’ (Luke 11:13). We may go to our heavenly Father and, in Christ’s name, confidently ask for greater supplies of the Holy Spirit. Pentecost demonstrates the pledge of both the Father and the Son to supply the church richly with the very best gift that God can give his people—the Spirit. When you are tempted to doubt God’s goodness or kindness towards you, remember Pentecost; both the bounty and richness of the gift, and the cost of that gift—the suffering and merits of Jesus Christ.