When the Disciples huddled together on Pentecost in the upper room, God in His grace, changed everything. It had only been fifty days before that they had abandoned Jesus and fled, leaving him to face the cruelty, the crowd and the cross, alone. The twelve apostles had seen one of their own number betray Jesus for thirty pieces of silver and then hang himself. It had only been fifty days since Peter denied Jesus three times—less than two months! It had just been fifty days since they had all hidden in fear at the thought of what might happen to them next.
But much can change in just fifty days if you think about it: a simple trip to the doctor about a funny mole can change into a battle with cancer; a long agonizing struggle to conceive a child can change into morning sickness; a frigid cold winter can change into the warmth of springtime and blossoms; an office flirtation can change into an adulterous affair; a great job can change into a demoralizing trip to the unemployment office; long nights of studying for final exams can change into graduation, marriage, and a job.
When we pick up the New Testament and read about that great and special Pentecost, we hear how the Disciples are suddenly emboldened to speak powerfully for Jesus. They fearlessly and openly stood up before a mob and proclaimed that the Jesus whom they crucified was now Lord and Christ—after hiding in the upper room. Jesus' chosen leaders—brave and bold on that first Pentecost—had been liars, traitors, and cowards just seven weeks earlier. Now they were willing to risk everything, including their lives, to speak up for Him. That’s why it is fifty days of grace: we go from crucifixion to resurrection to ascension and to pentecost: fallen disciples, broken leaders, and shattered loyalty needed that time of grace to be restored and put right. Jesus needed to confront Peter about his failure. We can all be changed completely with fifty days of grace!
So here we are, fifty days after remembering Jesus' Passion, Death and Resurrection. Where do you stand in your faith journey with the Lord? Have you failed him; failed your loved ones? Have you disappointed yourself? Are you still beating yourself up for sins you committed several months ago, or several years or decades ago? Isn't it time to hear the message of these last seven weeks and the renewal of the Spirit? Isn't it time to believe that you can be changed for the better—to be changed into the person that God made you to be—in fifty days or otherwise?
Jesus was handed over to die because of our sins, and He was raised from the dead to make us right with God. Isn't it time we all really hear that and believe that? It is time for us to all believe that his death can cover our sins. It is time to trust that His resurrection ensures that He has the power to make us right with God--no matter what. It is time to believe that Jesus can take us and our past with all its good and bad and use us for His glory so people around us may see the triumph of His grace in our lives. Move on from the failures, the lies, the denials, the cowardice, and step up and live for Jesus in a powerful way because His Holy Spirit lives in us! This is Pentecost and the birth of our Church!
Much can change for us, if only we will trust that God can change us, bless us, and restore us because of what we saw Him do with those fifty days of grace! Happy Pentecost!
Keep singing in your hearts!
Just a Note: Some songs of grace…