Numbers 11.24-30.
Moses has complained to the Lord that the burden of caring for the people of Israel is just too much for him. So the Lord commands him to find seventy leaders to share the load with him. Moses gathers them all around the tent (tabernacle), and the Lord comes down in a cloud, taking some of the spirit that was on Moses and putting it on the elders; and they prophesy. Even the two elders that had been chosen but remained in the camp, do prophesy. Joshua, Moses’s assistant, is not amused about this, but Moses replies that he would be happy if not just the seventy leaders, but the whole people of God were prophets.

Acts 2.1-21.
After praying for ten days in the upper room, the disciples receive the Holy Spirit. Strange things happen: there is the sound of a mighty wind, and tongues of fire rest on them and they speak in strange languages, so that the pilgrims from all over the world can understand them. Some people think it an embarrassing spectacle, but Peter explains how this is the fulfilment of the prophesies of Joel, that the Spirit will be given to all sorts of people, who will then proclaim the good news and call upon the name of the Lord for salvation.

John 20.19-23.
On the day of the resurrection Jesus appears to his disciples, and wishes them peace. Then he breathes on them and says: ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’ And he grants them all the authority to forgive.


- Moses’s wish has been fulfilled: we all have been anointed with the Holy Spirit to prophesy. This does not mean that we have the ability to foretell things, or that we all speak in strange languages. We prophesy when we tell others of the mighty works of the Lord and share the good news with them, be it in ever so simple ways and words.

- Joel has prophesied that the Holy Spirit will be given to all and sundry: young and old, men and women. This had been fulfilled at Pentecost. It is no longer just the leaders that receive the Holy Spirit; we have all been anointed by the Holy One, and we all have knowledge, says the apostle John in one of his letters (1 John 1.20).

- The Spirit is also given to us to help us to forgive. This gives us a huge responsibility. We have the power to set people free. To help them to make a new start. If we get stuck in resentment instead, we prevent others to find forgiveness and freedom in God.
Scripture meditations