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Lectionary Study Guide for PENTECOST May 31, 2020

Updated: May 27, 2020


O God, who on this day taught the hearts of your faithful people by sending to them the light of your Holy Spirit: Grant us by the same Spirit to have a right judgment in all things, and evermore to rejoice in his holy comfort; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

FIRST READING: Acts 2:1-11

The Coming of the Holy Spirit

2 When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested[a] on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.

5 Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. 6 And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. 7 And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? 9 Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, 11 both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.”

PSALM 104: 24-35

24 O Lord, how manifold are your works; *

in wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.

25 So is the great and wide sea also, *

in which are things creeping innumerable, creatures both small and great.

26 There go the ships, and there is that Leviathan, *

whom you made to take its pleasure therein.

27 These all wait upon you, *

that you may give them food in due season.

28 When you give it to them, they gather it, *

and when you open your hand, they are filled with good things.

29 When you hide your face, they are troubled; *

when you take away their breath, they die, and are turned again to their dust.

30 When you let your breath go forth, they shall be made, *

and you shall renew the face of the earth.

31 The glorious majesty of the Lord shall endure for ever; *

the Lord shall rejoice in his works.

32 He looks at the earth and it trembles; *

if he even touches the hills, they shall smoke.

33 I will sing unto the Lord as long as I live; *

I will praise my God while I have my being,

34 And so shall my words please him; *

my joy shall be in the Lord.

35 As for sinners, they shall perish from the earth, and the ungodly shall come to an end. *

Praise the Lord, O my soul. Praise the Lord.

SECOND READING: 1 Corinthians 12:4-13

4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; 5 and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord;6 and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. 7 To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 8 For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.

One Body with Many Members

12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves[a] or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.

GOSPEL: John 14:8-17

8 Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works.11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.

12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. 13 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask me[a] anything in my name, I will do it.

Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit

15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper,[b] to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be[c] in you.

NOTES from the Orthodox Study Bible

ACTS 2:1 The Day of Pentecost, also called the Feast of Weeks in the OT (see Lv 23:16), comes 50 days after Passover and is a celebration of the first fruits of harvest. As Jesus was crucified at Passover, the events of ch. 2 occur 50 days after His death. On the first Christian Pentecost, the unity of assembling with one accord (or purpose) in one place provides the environment in which the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in us.

2:3 The Holy Spirit coming in the appearance of divided tongues, as of fire fulfills the prophecy of John the Baptist that Christ would “baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Lk 3:16). This fire is a manifestation of the uncreated energy of God. Because God is wholly uncreated, His power or energy is also uncreated.

2:4-8 This is a fulfillment of the prophecy of Joel 3:1 and a divine reversal or recapitulation of the events at the Tower of Babel (Gn 11:1–9). In the account of Babel, pride was shown to possess the awesome power to divide; here, the humble reception of the Holy Spirit is shown to have the overwhelming power to unite, even in diversity. A key lesson of Pentecost is that the people hear the gospel in their own language.

1Corinthians 12:4-6 Every true gift and ministry in the Church manifests the Holy Trinity: the Spirit (v. 4), the Son, the Lord (v. 5) Jesus Christ, and the Father, God (v. 6). While the working out of our chrismation is primarily the grace of the Holy Spirit, it is the work of the Trinity as well. Note there are diversities or differences of gifts and activities; no two Christians are alike.

2:7 The purpose of spiritual gifts is the growth of the whole Church. “A charism is a gift of the Holy Spirit given for the benefit of others. But no person possesses all the gifts” (BasilG).

12:8-10 This list of nine gifts is not exhaustive (see 14:1–5; Rom 12:6–8; Eph 4:7–12).

12:12-13 Paul here moves from the gifts in the Church to the members of the one body of Christ. Note how the many members are to work as one.

John 14:9 He who has seen Me has seen the Father: Our response to Christ determines our relationship with the Father. If we reject Christ then we will never find the Father; but if we believe in Christ and follow Him, then we ourselves will become “children of God,” living eternally in the love of the Father

14:10 While human beings are made in God's image (Gn 1:26), the Incarnate Son is Himself the exact image of the Father (Col 1:15). Christ did not say, “I am the Father,” for He is not. Rather, He declares that He and the Father are one in essence and undivided in nature while being distinct Persons in the Godhead.

14:12 The greater works indicate that Christ's working through mere humans after Pentecost is greater than His performing signs and wonders directly. These works, attested to in the Book of Acts, include spreading the gospel throughout the world, miraculous healings, and raising the dead.

14:13-14 To pray in Christ's name does not simply mean to attach the phrase “in Jesus' name we pray” to the end of prayers. Rather, to pray in His name means to pray according to His will. Just as an emissary of a king can only be said to be speaking in the king's name if he says what the king would want him to say, so also we can only be said to be praying in the name of Christ when we pray according to what He wants. The purpose here is not to get God to do our will, but for us to learn to pray properly, according to God's will (Mt 6:10).

14:16 Helper (Gr. parakletos) refers to the Holy Spirit. This title also means “Comforter,” “Counselor,” and “Advocate.”

14:17 The Spirit of truth is in each believer, and we are called to know Him. The Holy Spirit prays in us and for us when we do not know how to pray, enabling us to pray in Christ's name (14:13, 14; Rom 8:26) and giving us words of witness when we speak the gospel (Mk 13:11).


CHALLENGE QUESTION: How is God empowering you in this season? Who are you empowering through the power of the Holy Spirit?

Empowerment: Leaders Must Be Empowered Before They Empower

Leaders can never empower anyone else until they are first supernaturally empowered themselves. The term “filled with the Holy Spirit” is used five times in Acts (2:4; 4:8, 31; 9:17; 13:9). Whenever someone is filled with the Holy Spirit, something happens. Empowered leaders express God’s power, then empower others.

CHARISMA | Peter Was a Magnet
ACTS 2 marks a pivotal point in the New Testament. One hundred and twenty men and women become charter members of the church when it is born in an upper room somewhere in Jerusalem. Yet by end of the chapter, it explodes into a body of more than three thousand members.

After the Holy Spirit falls on the believers (Acts 2:1–4), those visiting Jerusalem begin to wonder how these disciples of Jesus could speak so many languages (2:5–13). While some think the disciples are drunk, most just feel confused. Chaos seems to rule.

That’s when Peter stands up and begins to speak. This same Peter, who ran in fear on the night of Jesus’ trial, now speaks boldly. Within minutes, he has captivated everyone with his compelling words. The crowd gladly accepts his message. Why? He has charisma. Through a combination of God-given wiring and the gift of the Holy Spirit, this leader captures and motivates three thousand people to follow Christ.

What Are the Traits of a Charismatic Leader?

Most people think of charisma as something mystical, almost indefinable. They think it comes at birth or not at all. But that’s not true. Charisma is the ability to draw people to you or your cause. Some people possess more of it naturally. Like other character traits, however, it can be learned. Notice what made Peter so charismatic (2:14–40):

  1. Confidence: Peter displayed poise and optimism as a buoyant communicator.

  2. Conviction: He knew where he was going and what he had to say. He spoke straight from his heart.

  3. Connection: He focused not on himself, but on others. He magnetically connected with his audience.

  4. Compassion: He exuded warmth and love. He gave the people practical answers to their needs.

By the end of his message, everyone asked, “What shall we do?” (2:37). They felt motivated and ready to act. God used Peter’s charisma like a magnet.

How Can We Build Charisma?

How about you? Do you demonstrate charisma? To make yourself the kind of person who attracts others, build the following into your life:

  1. Love life. Celebrate; don’t complain. Enjoy the journey.

  2. Put a “10” on everyone’s forehead. Expect the best of people and treat them well.

  3. Give people hope. Everyone looks for hope; leaders deal it out.

  4. Share yourself. Be vulnerable and real. Share your heart, wisdom, and resources.

The Law of Navigation: Jesus Laid a Plan for the Future

Jesus practiced the Law of Navigation by looking to the future. He reminded His men that He would prepare a place for them (John 14:1–4) and that He was preparing them for a place (14:16–29). He laid plans for the Holy Spirit to finish the work He had begun.

The Law of Empowerment: Jesus Had a Great IDEA to Equip Others

Jesus told His men that they would do greater works than He had done. How would this be possible?

First, He would send the Holy Spirit to live in each of them. Second, He had already given so much of Himself to equip them. The Law of Empowerment tells us that only secure leaders give their power to others. God prepared the disciples to reproduce their leadership in the lives of others. They were empowered by the Holy Spirit and equipped by the Lord Jesus. Talk about being ready to change the world!

How did Jesus mentor and reproduce His leadership in His disciples? Consider Jesus’ IDEA of how to reproduce leadership in someone else:

  1. Instruction: He verbally taught them. He constantly used daily routines to instruct them in leadership.

  2. Demonstration: He modeled truth and let His men observe His life. He provided show-and-tell.

  3. Experience: He let the disciples participate and apply the truths themselves. They got to practice.

  4. Assessment: He debriefed their shared experience. He assessed their growth and gave them direction.

Team Building: Leaders Are Brokers of Gifts

Leaders aren’t supposed to do all the work of the church, but are to effectively broker the talent on their team. Good teams use every gift and enjoy both unity and diversity. Consider

Paul’s philosophy of team building:

  1. The team possesses a variety of gifts or positions, but pursues the same goal and God (vv. 4–6).

  2. Everyone has a contribution to make which benefits the team (v. 7).

  3. God is the source of each gift, so He deserves the glory (vv. 8–10).

  4. God chooses who has what gifts, so we must not compete or compare (v. 11).

  5. Team members are to function like the organs and muscles in a body (vv. 12–14).

  6. No team member is less important than another; all are necessary (vv. 15–21).

  7. Sometimes, the players who seem less important are actually more important (vv. 22–24).

  8. God’s goal is team harmony and mutual care (vv. 25, 26).

  9. Although members are equally important, they are meant to be diverse (vv. 27, 28).

  10. We should not compete with each other, but complete each other (vv. 29–31).

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