This Sunday we will celebrate this special day in the life of the Church.
Pentecost is typically thought of as the birthday of the Church. Acts 2 recounts how the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, came upon Jesus’ disciples while they were gathered in Jerusalem, waiting for such a move of the Spirit. Jesus told them to wait for the Spirit, and the Spirit came.
Pentecost is not new to the New Testament. Neither is the Holy Spirit. The feast of Pentecost is actually given to the Jewish people in Exodus 34, and was known as one of the migratory feasts – In the case of Pentecost, Jewish males were required to come to Jerusalem to celebrate the heat harvest. It occurred fifty days after Passover.
The powerful presence of the Holy Spirit is not unique to the New Testament, either. One of my first seminary classes was a very difficult Old Testament course, the final project for which was a paper explaining the appearance of the word ruach (spirit, breath), as a manifestation of God. If memory serves, there are nearly 150 appearances of the Spirit in connection with God’s work. Through the Spirit, God’s servants in the Old Testament perform miracles, give testimony, provide prophecy and even change natural events, like weather! Sounds familiar, right?
When the Holy Spirit comes on Christ’s disciples and enables them to speak in other languages, people celebrating Passover from all over the known world hear the gospel in their language. Peter, the disciple most likely to say the wrong thing, gives a powerful sermon. And the net result is that thousands come to faith in Christ and are saved!
As we prepare to celebrate Pentecost, let us pray that God will unleash his Spirit and spark revival among us, and that God would so equip us to share his gospel!