Sunday, May 19, 2024


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Today is Pentecost on the Christian calendar, and in my experience, it seems that non-litrugical churches don't put much emphasis on this day. In fact, many evangelical believers don't even know what it is! Some of the churches I've belonged to have marked Pentecost and others have not made much of it, so it took me awhile to figure it out. Now, I believe it's quite important, for two reasons. First, it's one of the festivals that God commanded his people Israel to celebrate, which means it was a foreshadowing of how the law would be fulfilled when Messiah came. And second, that fulfillment on the Day of Pentecost recorded in the books of Acts was effectively the birth of the Church. 

Pentecost is a celebration of God . . . a celebration of God's power . . . a celebration of God's desire to empower us and to dwell within us. ~Mark Hart

From the day of Pentecost until the present time, it has been necessary to be of one accord in prayer before the Spirit of God will work with mighty converting power. ~John Mott

My brethren, do you believe in the Holy Ghost? . . . Have we such a reliance upon the Holy Ghost? Do we believe that, at this moment, He can clothe us with power, even as He did the apostles at Pentecost? Do we believe that, under our preaching, by His energy a thousand might be born in a day? ~Charles Spurgeon

So what IS Pentecost? In the Old Testament, when God gave the law to Moses at Sinai, he instructed Israel to celebrate certain festivals every year. One of those was Shavu'ot, or the Feast/Festival of Weeks. This was a harvest celebration that took place 50 days after Passover. The 50 days is where the Greek name Pentecost comes from.

Then celebrate the Festival of Weeks to the LORD your God by giving a freewill offering in proportion to the blessings the LORD your God has given you. And rejoice before the LORD your God at the place he will choose as a dwelling for his Name―you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, the Levites in your towns, and the foreigners, the fatherless and the widows living among you.
~Deuteronomy 16:10-11~

This was a huge party to celebrate how God had provided and would continue to provide, and everyone in Israel was invited! All of Israel was expected to be there, and everyone who worshiped the God of Israel was supposed to be welcome! 

So on the first Festival of Weeks after Jesus' death and resurrection, Jewish people from all over had come to Jerusalem to celebrate. Jesus had returned to heaven, but he had told his disciples to wait in Jerusalem for the Holy Spirit to come to them. They must have been ready to celebrate the Festival of Weeks as the law required, and I wonder whether they expected something very special to happen on the Day of Pentecost? They were all together and in prayer, and it was special indeed!

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 following quotes are excerpts from the article What is Pentecost? And why is it important? at The Bible Project:

In Acts 2:5, Luke says that Jews "from every nation under heaven" were gathering in Jerusalem at the time for the Pentecost feast . . . It is one of three main festivals that brought hundreds of thousands of pilgrims to Jerusalem for a big celebration.
The "whole world" had come to them.


Pentecost sparked an international effort to include everyone, Jewish and non-Jewish, into God's family, which is one reason we see the "speaking in tongues" miracle happening. In Greek, "tongues" can refer to real human languages, and that seems to be Luke's point in Acts 2:8. He captures the question everyone is asking: "How is it that we each hear them in our own language to which we were born?"

So what is Pentecost Sunday all about? It's about this unexpected (yet expected) moment in 1st-century Jerusalem when the apostles' heads caught fire, when a strange indoor windstorm swirled through a packed party filled with international travenelers. It is the day foreshadowed by every wind-and-fire episode in the Old Testament and the day Jesus promised would happen as he quoted the prophet Isaiah. It's the moment his loving Church began, and it's the beginning of a new, peaceful world. Happy Pentecost!

And Peter said to them, "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone who the Lord our God calls to himself."
And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, "Save yourselves from this crooked generation."
So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.
~Acts 2:38-41~

This post appeared first on A Fresh Cup of Coffee.

Wednesday Quotes 2024 is hosted by Marsha at Always Write. The original version of this post is linked at WQ#169: When You're Blue Find Hopefulness In the Neighborhood

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Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

Pentecost is one of my favorite times of the liturgical year. It's the arrival of the Holy Spirit that makes this time such a special one for me.

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