Pentecost; September 17, 2021


Acts 2:42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.

The events on the day of Pentecost were momentous in every way, and here we have the response to them. That there were 3000 commitments to Jesus Christ as Lord in one day, without benefit of modern sound systems or anything of the sort, is an indication of how God had prepared the people to receive the message. It had been less than two months since the Crucifixion, and with none of our current electronic distractions to give them a “24 hour news cycle,” people were probably still talking about it, particularly with all the rumors of resurrection that were doubtless going around. The thing is, everyone has big events in their life; it’s how we respond to them that really makes the difference. The Japanese translation here gives a slightly different slant on the people’s response. Whereas the English says, “They devoted themselves…” and then goes on to list the various activities, the Japanese says, “They strictly obeyed the apostle’s teaching, had fellowship, broke bread, and prayed.” The point seems to be, their first goal was to absorb everything they could about Jesus from those who had been with Him, and the other things followed from there. The thing is, the more we know of Jesus, the more we are going to delight to be with His children and the more we are going to pray. There is discussion of exactly what is meant by “breaking bread,” whether it means celebrating Communion or simply eating together, but if the latter, it seems a little trivial to include it here. In any case their faith-encounter with Jesus consumed them, and the foundation for the Church was laid.

As a pastor, and particularly one ministering in Japan, I have always looked on Pentecost and the events following with more than a little bit of longing. Japanese people today are close to the opposite of the people in Jerusalem on Pentecost. They have no foundation in the Old Testament, certainly, and the culture itself has a very distorted concept of sin, repentance, and forgiveness. If I hadn’t been born and raised here, and particularly if God hadn’t commissioned me to serve here, I would have chosen an easier place to work! That said, I am daily reminded that nothing is impossible for God. The things that happen are generally very small, but they are reminders that God is at work. Just yesterday I was called in by the chairman of the school where I teach, wanting me to speak on “Giving” to the Rotary Club. I cautioned him that I would definitely be quoting the Bible! Also, my wife has discovered the online prayer meetings hosted by Don Moen, and when she sent a comment and he noticed it was from Japan, he recalled a vision he has had of revival sweeping Japan, from the west to the east – and Nagasaki is the westernmost prefecture in Japan! These things are little at this point, but they are reminders that God hasn’t given up on this nation, and I must not either.

Father, You have been giving various hints that my ministry is going to change, but I can only guess as to what that might mean. I pray that I would be as available as Peter and the other apostles were on the day of Pentecost, whatever, whenever, and however You want to do, so that Your name may be acknowledged as holy and Your kingdom come as Your will is done, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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