When Our Lord Jesus commanded His Apostles to “go into all the world and preach the Gospel,” and to preach repentance and remission of sins in His name, He did not leave them to their own devices. Instead, He conferred upon them Holy Spirit; He gave them the authority and the power to give people new life in God. This new life is a restoration of the communion with God through Jesus Christ in the Spirit that you and I were created to have. This was why the Father originally opened His mouth and breathed out His Word and Spirit: not simply to make stuff, but to make men and women, you and me, so that we might share in His life, in a relationship and union that exceeds any intimacy we can desire or imagine. He made us so that we might grow and mature and deepen in that communion.
Whenever we take it into our heads to make God in our image and according to our likeness; whenever we desire to make Him conform to the God we want, rather than conforming ourselves to our Father and His Word in all we do and say; then we have marred and ruined the intimacy and communion. We have separated ourselves from Him and have allowed the devil and his spirits of despair, unbelief, and false hope to rush in.
The original design required our Lord Jesus to come into our flesh, and for the Holy Spirit to draw us ever more deeply into the life that God is. But because of our desire to live for ourselves, because we no longer desire communion with God, because we desire to make God suit our whims, our Lord Jesus changed His mission. Before He could live in our flesh, He would have to restore our flesh. And before He could bolster our union with God, He would have to again make that communion possible. He would be born of Mary. He would live the righteousness we cannot achieve on our own. He would lay down His life as the sacrifice for sin. He would rise again to raise us with Him. And then He sent His Spirit, the Helper, who plants our Lord within us along with all Jesus has said and done for our salvation.
And so the Spirit descends. But He does not land on just Peter or even just the Twelve. The sounds of the rushing mighty wind filled the house where the church was gathered together. He filled that house just as He would fill the whole earth. To the Apostles the Holy Spirit gave the power to give new life, life given just as it was in the beginning—by a mouth, through the Word. And so, because they were all filled with the Spirit, they spoke. They spoke to the very people who had killed the Christ, the very people who had shouted, “His blood be on us and on our children.”
It is an unspeakable miracle and an unfathomable mercy of God that He is willing to take our curses and make them His blessing. And so, by His Spirit, He takes that curse spoken to Pilate against Jesus and now converts it into the most blessed words they could ever hear. The blood of Jesus is what they cried out for. And by the miracle of Holy Baptism, the blood of Jesus is what they got. It fell on them and on their children in a redeeming flood. And by that same Spirit, our Lord Jesus has washed us and generously poured into us His love and His life. In this way, the Triune God comes to us and makes His home in us. In this way He renews our life; our communion with God is restored. We are gathered into His Body, the Church, and in this way we live through Him, with Him, and in Him. And being in communion with the Holy Trinity, we are now also in communion with each other. In the name of the Father and of the Son (+) and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
The peace of God which passes all understanding will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus always. Amen.