GOSPEL MESSAGE & RECORDING
Rev. Fr. Gheevarghese John
After celebrating the Feast of the Ascension, we now approach the Feast of Pentecost. Pentecost occurs fifty days after the Resurrection. This feast signifies the coming of the Holy Spirit as promised by our Lord in John 14:15-31.
For an Orthodox Christian there is only One God, in three distinct Persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit—the Holy Trinity. (Matthew 28:19) The Holy Trinity works in unity, in one essence, one energy, yet maintaining the distinctiveness of the Persons. The Holy Trinity was always from the beginning. In other words, the Son and the Holy Spirit always existed. There was never a time they did not exist.
In human history God revealed Himself to Abraham and established a covenant. (Genesis 12:1) Subsequently, God delivered the Hebrews out of the land of Egypt and brought them to the promise land. The revelation of the Holy Trinity was not revealed to the Jewish people, but rather given as hidden jewels within the Scriptures. For example, Isaiah 53 speaks of Christ’s passion and crucifixion and Exodus 31:1-3 speaks of the Holy Spirit. In due time, God revealed his only begotten Son into the world. (John 3:16) Through Jesus Christ everyone would be saved and redeemed. Before His Ascension, Christ promised His disciples that the Holy Spirit would come and endow them with power and strength. What we see here is that God revealed Himself, in His fullness, throughout human history. However, this “revealing” is in three parts 1) before the Cross 2) the point of the Cross 3) and after the Cross. First, “before the Cross” is the work of God with the Jewish people and the giving of the Law. Second, “the point of the Cross” is the moment in time when Jesus was hung on the Cross--demonstrating to the world that He is the Crucified Messiah. Third, “after the Cross” is the coming of the Holy Spirit and the age of the Church, which we are currently in.
For most Orthodox Christian we come to the “point of the Cross” but do not attempt to look “after the Cross.” In other words, we don’t experience the Holy Spirit. We are often told that we received the Holy Spirit at the time of Baptism; but just because we received the Holy Spirit do not mean that we have allowed Him to work in our lives. In order for the Holy Spirit to work in our lives we must invite Him to “fill us” and to “activate” His charismatic gifts. (1 Corinthians 12:7-11) Have you ever asked the Holy Spirit to fill you? It is told in the ancient chronicles of Malankara Orthodox history that Parumala Thirumeni once stood in the Altar and would not begin the Holy Qurbano. Concerned, the altar servant asked the Saint if something was wrong. The Saint replied, “Nothing is wrong.” The altar servant again asked, “Why don’t you begin the Qurbano?” The Saint replied, “The Holy Spirit has not filled me yet.”
We are redeemed, saved, forgiven but still live defeated. We attend Qurbano, go to conferences and retreats, pray all the required prayers, and yet cannot attempt anything of value for the Kingdom of God. Why, because there is no “real” encounter with the Holy Spirit. When this encountering occurs, the gifts of the Holy Spirit begin to manifest in us. We are not only saved but also begin to save other around us. God does not only heal us but also God uses us to heal others. We go to hear the Word of God, but also begin to preach the Word of God. We not only give to charity but also encourage others to give to charity.
Today receive an “infilling” of the Holy Spirit and live a life of victory.