61,946. Do you know the significance of that number? That number is the beginning of an amazing phenomenon. That is the attendance figure for Super Bowl 1. It was disappointing because the Los Angeles Coliseum had over 100,000 seats. Can you imagine a Super Bowl today with 40% of the seats unsold? Interestingly enough, if you check what people have said through the years, over a million people claim to have been at this game. Everybody wants in on the start of something like that.
Some beginnings don’t appear to be very big when you look back on them. Other beginnings turn the world upside down. “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” (Acts 2:1-4)
The disciples were huddled in the upper room. No longer the frightened bunch they were after the crucifixion, they were still unsure of how to carry out their mission to go into all the world. They had seen Jesus. He told them to wait. They may have wondered how they would know when the Holy Spirit came. Then it happened. A violent rushing wind. Tongues of fire. They began to preach the gospel in many different languages. When Jerusalem was filled with tourists for the religious festival of Pentecost, God provided an unforgettable beginning of the church as the Holy Spirit ignited His people.
Since that day, the world has turned upside down, or perhaps I should say, right side up. The gospel of Jesus Christ has gone around the world. And yet, we seem to be living in dark times once again as we look at a world that persecutes and slaughters Christians. We live in a country that accepts all lifestyles but looks on the Christian lifestyle with a jaundiced eye. We pray for a renewing of that Spirit in the world today. May God fire up His church and may those who oppose Him experience His grace and forgiveness.
Lord, revive Your people. Let Your Spirit move among us, firing us up like You did when You began the Church. May we proclaim the gospel and do it in such a way that people of all cultures can experience Your grace and forgiveness.