That first Pentecost must have been an incredible experience. Do you every find yourself imagining it happening again? Would you want to be one of those to whom it happened? But you do realize, don’t you, if it did happen to you that your life would be over? I mean your life as you have lived it to date. It would be over, swept away. And most of the things you look forward to this day would, in one fell swoop, be gone. It brings to mind something Jesus told Peter:
I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.
Peter’s old life was gone. He would never go fishing again. It also brings to mind what he said to another unnamed young man:
And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?
And this, basically, is what most people think religion is all about. It has little to do with this world and everything to do with the next.
And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?
We have a commandment keeper here—a dedicated, religious man.
Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.
It is absolutely breathtaking to consider: a very well to do young man who no doubt had many responsibilities and a full life; and he is asked to walk off and leave it all.
But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions. Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved? But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.
It really is beyond the capacity of men to do what Jesus asked this young man to do. But there can come a time when God makes it possible. This is precisely what he did on Pentecost for 120 people. He made it possible for them to walk away from their lives.