19 May 2013

posted 16 May 2013, 19:50 by C S Paul
19 May 2013

Sermons Based on the Lectionary of the Syrian Orthodox Church

 Pentecost - Fiftieth day after Easter

Gospel Reading for this Sunday

Acts, 2:1-13 New King James Version (NKJV)

This  Sunday is Pentecost Sunday, the day when the disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Holy Spirit enabled them.

Coming of the Holy Spirit

When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 

And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 

Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. 

And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

The Crowd’s Response

And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven. 

And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language. 

Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, “Look, are not all these who speak Galileans? 

And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born?

Parthians and Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,

10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 

11 Cretans and Arabs—we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.” 

12 So they were all amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “Whatever could this mean?”

13 Others mocking said, “They are full of new wine.”

Devotional Thoughts for Pentecost Sunday

by Rev. Dr. V KurianThomas Valiyaparambil


Pentecost is the great festival that marks the birth of the Christian Church by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Fifty days after the resurrection of Jesus, the twelve apostles, Jesus' mother and family, and many other of his disciples gathered together in Jerusalem for the Jewish harvest festival that was celebrated on the fiftieth day of Passover. While they were indoors praying, a sound like that of a rushing wind filled the house and tongues of fire descended and rested over each of their heads. This was the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on human flesh promised by God through the prophet Joel (Joel 2:28-29). The disciples were suddenly empowered to proclaim the gospel of the risen Christ. They went out into the streets of Jerusalem and began preaching to the crowds gathered for the festival. Not only did the disciples preach with boldness and vigor, but by a miracle of the Holy Spirit they spoke in the native languages of the people present, many who had come from all corners of the Roman Empire. This created a sensation. The apostle

Peter seized the moment and addressed the crowd, preaching to them about Jesus' death and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins. The result was that about three thousand converts were baptized that day. The Holy Spirit descended upon them in the form of a mighty rushing wind. The assembled began to speak in languages they did not know before. There were many visitors from all over the land. They were astonished to hear them praise God in alien languages. (This account is detailed in the Book of Acts 2:1-11.)

Christian churches see Pentecost as the final fulfillment of the mission of Jesus. It is traditionally called the beginning of the Holy Apostolic Church. It reveals the identities of the divine trinity, namely, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Pentecost was a once-in-history event. What we can learn from the day of Pentecost are the following:

1) The birth of the Christian church. The Church comes into reality on the day of Pentecost. It was in Antioch that the followers of Christ were first called Christians. (Acts 11:26). The Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch traces its origin and foundation back to the very beginnings of Christianity, and prides itself as one of the oldest and established apostolic churches in the world.

2) The church was created by God. Jesus came to this world, and after his death, burial and resurrection, the church was formed. The church came into reality on the day of Pentecost.

3) The purpose of the church is to communicate love and message of God.

4) The goal of the Church is to establish a fellowship among its members. We are all part of that fellowship and shall remain that way. It's a place where we can go and hear the truth. It ministers to its people and meets the needs of its members. The church is like a shade tree on a summer day, a cup of cool water when we are thirsty, a place to come and know we won't be rejected.

Pentecost has become a sacred day on the Christian calendar.

Pentecost is a great harvest of the Holy Spirit to empower and renew our life to be a witness for Christ. Our faith in God cannot live on man's wisdom alone. We need the experience of the Holy Spirit to sustain our faith and empower us to be the disciple of Christ.

The human body is a remarkable machine to maintain a constant temperature of 98.6 degrees, no matter how cold it is outside the house. There is an inner mechanism that works well for us. Like a human temperature control mechanism, the Holy Spirit will keep us in the spiritual zone and transform us when we lack faith. It will unite us when we are divided. It can create an awareness in the moral flaws and spiritual weaknesses in us. It can empower us to speak to others the message of the gospel.

It is the Holy Spirit that makes us work the way we were meant to be. Without the Holy Spirit, we can do very little. With the Holy Spirit, we can shine God's light in us as well as on others. We can fill Christ in us and others to make a better life for everyone.