Many believers are greatly anticipating this year’s Pentecost, believing something extraordinary could happen. Given the worldwide plague and our recent Passover observation, many are praying that another outpouring of God’s Spirit would break the enemy’s grip and truly deliver us from evil.
But what is it, exactly, that we are hoping for? Is it just another spiritual revival that reminds us of what we already possess? Is it a revisiting of past glories and miraculous testimonies? Or is it something else?
If we are truly living out a synchronization of past patterns, what changed between the resurrection and the day of Pentecost the first time? More specifically, how were the first disciples changed in a way that would reveal a targeted expectation? They had already received all power and authority to perform miraculous signs and wonders. They had already been commissioned to bring deliverance to the captives and even raise the dead. What more could they possibly need?
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
Jesus promised His disciples power, but with a specific result – they would be “witnesses.” That word witness is another word for martyr. It carries the idea that one who is a witness will be so impassioned and emboldened with their testimony, they are willing to die for it – even a violent death!
“And when the blood of Stephen your witness was being shed, I myself was standing by and approving and watching over the garments of those who killed him.” (Acts 22:20)
If you read the book of Acts following Pentecost, there is a noticeable shift in the attitude of the apostles. The biggest change is not in their level of spiritual power to perform miracles or their Kingdom authority over the works of the devil – it is their OUTRIGHT BOLDNESS to CONFRONT THE OPPOSITION. The significant impartation they received on the day of Pentecost was a heaven-sent outpouring of courage to challenge the very people they used to fear. No longer bound to the fear of man, the zeal of the Lord emboldened them to be the very change agents they had been praying about for generations.
Consider the differences of these men before and after Pentecost:
- “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.” (Acts 2:4) Instead of speaking on their own terms, THEY BEGAN SPEAKING BY THE SPIRIT, revealing mysteries otherwise unknown to man.
- “But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up (exalt one’s self) his voice and addressed them.” (Acts 2:14) Instead of shrinking back from doubt and unbelief, THEY STEPPED TO THE FRONT IN FAITH, unashamed of their testimony and their charge.
- “And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation!” (Acts 2:40) Instead of looking for outside deliverance, THEY TOOK RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE ENEMY OCCUPATION, unafraid to call the people higher.
- “Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them… ‘This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone…’ Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished.” (Acts 4:8, 11-13) Instead of hiding from the unjust rulers and corrupt officials, THEY OPENLY REBUKED THEIR UNBELIEF and fearlessly faced their accusers.
The word “boldness” means “free and fearless confidence, cheerful courage, assurance; the deportment by which one becomes conspicuous or secures publicity.” Instead of hesitating and holding back, the disciples purposely became conspicuous! They wanted to be seen and heard, especially in the public square. The supernatural confidence that burned in their hearts compelled them to speak up, regardless of the cost. And, indeed, it cost them. Many times they were taken to jail, beaten, and even stoned. How did they respond? With joy!
“And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.” (Acts 4:29-31)
We are much like the early disciples. We already have all the resources necessary to fulfill our commission. We’ve already heard the truth and witnessed His power. What holds us back from stepping out of our comfort zones is our own fear and self-doubt. The Holy Spirit wants to pour out fresh fire and holy boldness into the Church to unleash Kingdom authority right in the middle of enemy territory. The deliverance we’re praying for and transformation we long for is about to explode – THROUGH US!
I believe this coming Pentecost is much more than an increase in signs, wonders, and miracles, or a resurgence of supernatural encounters (which will happen). It will be an infilling of GREATER BOLDNESS for the King and His Kingdom! In the face of rising corruption in the culture and demonic powers exerting their will on the earth, the heavenly host will come again as messengers of wind and ministers of flaming fire to empower the Ekklesia that has been praying and waiting in the upper room (see Ps 104:4)! Lord, let your fire fall!