The Purpose of Pentecost

[36] Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” (Acts 2:36)

The Super Bowl can help us avoid missing the point of Pentecost.

A couple of years ago I was brought into a conversation about the most recent Super Bowl. After a prolonged discussion about the Super Bowl advertisements and the halftime show, one person in the conversation said, “I don’t even know who won the game, but it was a great Super Bowl.” 

There is a risk of falling into a similar trap with Pentecost. The Holy Spirit grabs our attention. We can imagine the sound of the mighty rushing wind, envision tongues of fire appearing to rest above the apostles and even hear a cacophony of different language being spoken.  

The Apostle Peter identifies this event is the fulfillment of a prophesy in the book of Joel. However, even if this isn’t the main point of Pentecost.  

Despite everything that has grown around it, the purpose of the Super Bowl is still to crown a champion. In a sermon Peter points out that the purpose of outpouring of the Spirit and the fulfillment of prophecy is to prove that Jesus is Lord and Christ. 

Some churches go to great lengths Pentecost worship services to give some sense of the experience of the first Christian Pentecost. One year our church, right before the Scripture readings, created the sound of a rushing wind using a synthesizer. In the midst of the wind sound, we had members read simultaneously part of Acts chapter 2 in German, Korean, Latin, Spanish, Chinese, Greek, and English. 

Even though this definitely caught the attention of worshippers, it was done to support the purpose of Pentecost. It set the scene for hearing that Jesus is Lord and Christ, the promised Messiah who took away the sin of the world. 

(A Second Look devotions are written for the congregations of the Ohio District LCMS).

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