Day of Pentecost (June 4, 2017)
- First reading
- Second reading
1 Corinthians 12:3-13 | New Living Translation (NLT)
3 … No one can say Jesus is Lord, except by the Holy Spirit.
4 There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit is the source of them all. 5 There are different kinds of service, but we serve the same Lord. 6 God works in different ways, but it is the same God who does the work in all of us.
7 A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other. 8 To one person the Spirit gives the ability to give wise advice; to another the same Spirit gives a message of special knowledge. 9 The same Spirit gives great faith to another, and to someone else the one Spirit gives the gift of healing. 10 He gives one person the power to perform miracles, and another the ability to prophesy. He gives someone else the ability to discern whether a message is from the Spirit of God or from another spirit. Still another person is given the ability to speak in unknown languages, while another is given the ability to interpret what is being said. 11 It is the one and only Spirit who distributes all these gifts. He alone decides which gift each person should have.
12 The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ. 13 Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit.
This week is literally a Red-letter day in the history of the church. As we look at the church calendar, there are several key events. The first key event is Jesus’ incarnation. We celebrate that a Christmas. Jesus was God in the flesh and he came to dwell among us. The second key event happened at Easter – the death and resurrection of Jesus. His death and resurrection made a new way for us – we who were separated by the fall of Adam and Eve. Jesus Christ was the second Adam and he paid the price for our sins and freed us from the power and chains of sin.
There is one last event and that is the one we celebrate this Sunday. It is when the Spirit of God – what we call the Holy Spirit came in power. It is when the Church was born. Jesus Christ now dwells within us through the power of his Holy Spirit.
The story of the coming of the Holy Spirit is found in Acts 2. If you click on the link above you can go to it. However, this cycle through the lectionary, we are looking at the Epistles. That brings us to 1 Corinthians 12:3b-13.
One of the things that this passage brings out is that the human body has many parts. Paul reminds us that so does the body of Christ. He even goes on to tell us that some are Jews and some are Gentles – some are slaves – some are free. That is one of the amazing things about the body of Christ – we are not all the same – and if we were – some of us would be unnecessary. God has given us a diversity of gifts through the Holy Spirit. My personal opinion is there are more gifts of the Holy Spirit than listed… One of the things that we have listed here are some of the gifts of the Spirit – here is the important part. These gifts of the Spirit are given by the Spirit, that is the Spirit is the source of them all. I love how Paul puts it, “There are different kinds of service, but we serve the same Lord. God works in different ways, but it is the same God who does the work in all of us.“
I often think of how sometimes people want all believers to be the same – as if we all need to be the same to be in unity. I believe that we can be unified, even in our diversity. Look at the list of spiritual gifts listed by Paul – again Paul says these spiritual gifts are given so we can help each other:
- Message of special knowledge
- Great Faith
- the ability to speak in unknown languages
- The ability to interpret unknown languages
Again I think this is a short list and there are others. The important thing to remember is that it is the one and only Holy Spirit that distributes them and these gifts should be used to support the body of Christ. Why? Paul concludes this passage by saying, “We have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit and we all share the same Spirit.”
The power of the Holy Spirit comes upon the life of the believer so that the body of Christ may be lifted up and that men and women and boys and girls will come to a saving knowledge of Christ.