Matney: The Holy Spirit points to Jesus at Pentecost
Sunday, June 9, on both the Jewish and Christian calendars is Pentecost Sunday. The word “Pentecost” comes from a Greek word meaning 50. The Jewish Festival of Pentecost occurred 50 days after Passover.
In Acts, chapter 2, people from many different nations had gathered in Jerusalem to celebrate Pentecost. In their own language, they heard 120 followers of Jesus in the Upper Room “speaking in other tongues,” and telling of the wonderful works of God. Some people mocked them, some said they were drunk, but God had filled them with the Holy Spirit and thousands came to faith in Jesus. Pentecost was the birthday, the launch day, of the church.
New Life Assembly of God is a Pentecostal church. We believe in the present tense ministry and gifts of the Holy Spirit, including gifts of healing, prophecy and praying in tongues, among other divine manifestations and ministries of the Holy Spirit. I was raised in Pentecost and I love the presence of the Holy Spirit in our church services. I pray for even more and greater manifestation of the spirit in our lives individually and in our churches collectively.
I am happy to share with anyone who asks about the “signs and wonders” I’ve seen. I’m aware of two specific cases of individuals being healed and raised out of wheelchairs. I participated in one of those cases and in the other case, I know the lady who received the healing and the people who prayed for her healing.
I also participated in prayer for a blind man who received his sight. We prayed against spirits of infirmity in a man afflicted with chronic back pain. I was amazed as I saw the pain and tension visibly drain from the man’s face and saw his entire body relax. His legs stopped jerking and his body stopped writhing in pain.
An amazed look came across the man’s face as he too noticed he was no longer in pain. He stood up without effort, twisted his body from side to side, lifted his knees in a marching action and then began to walk around the room — all without pain — things he had not been able to do without constant pain for several years.
Again, I’m happy to share with anyone who asks, about healings, deliverance, dreams, visions, guidance, protection, provision, and other signs, wonders and blessings facilitated by the Holy Spirit that I, or others I know, have experienced. These are the works of God. I cannot produce or predict any of them. I am only a happy witness to the work of the Holy Spirit.
Each of the things I’ve mentioned are signs pointing us to Jesus. When I’m driving to Denver, and I see a sign that says, “Denver, 90 miles ahead,” I don’t stop at the sign and say I’ve arrived. No, the sign is not my destination, it points me in the direction of my destination. The miracles and healings are signs, pointing us to Jesus and encouraging us to have faith in him.
Jesus said of the Holy Spirit, “He will not speak of himself but he will glorify me” (John 16:13). The ministry of the Holy Spirit is to point each of us to Jesus.
Jesus told his followers that when they were baptized in, and filled with, the Holy Spirit, they would receive power to “be my witnesses.” Healings, speaking in tongues, or any other of the Holy Spirit’s gifts, are not a witness to a person’s superiority in any way. The gifts of the Spirit (1 Corinthians, chapters 11-14 and elsewhere throughout the Bible), all witness of Jesus, and God’s love and salvation through him.
Of the healings, deliverance from addictions and other blessings I’ve received or know others have received, the greatest blessing has been the increasing love for, and understanding of, the man, Jesus Christ. In the Bible, the Holy Spirit is called the teacher, advocate, helper and by numerous other names, and he facilitates a person’s relationship with Jesus.
He intercedes for us, praying for us and through us, according to the will of God (Romans 8:26, etc.). He gives us knowledge and wisdom. He nurtures love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, faith and other Christ-like character in us (Galatians 5:22-25). The Holy Spirit is the wind beneath our wings that lifts us to the freedom and abundant life found in Jesus.
The annual day of Pentecost points to Jesus, reminding us that he ascended to the father and sent the Holy Spirit to encourage us, teach us and empower us to live overcoming lives and to take the love of God and the good news of forgiveness, peace, and salvation through Jesus into our world.
Dan Matney is the pastor at New Life Assembly of God in Avon. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.