What Exactly is Pentecost?

rootedchristThis is the last of our weeks where we are are looking at post-resurrection experiences that people have with Jesus.  This week is not so much an encounter with Jesus as it is the Holy Spirit.  This week we are going to be looking at what happened on Pentecost and the giving of the Holy Spirit.  We’ll be looking at Acts 2: 1-36.  We won’t share the entire text here since it is so long, but you can read this passage by clicking here.

This week I want to do a couple of things.  Today, I want to talk about what Pentecost is.  Tomorrow we’ll talk about the Holy Spirit.  Then the next few days we’ll talk about the words of the text.

Today we see the disciples gathered together in the Upper Room when the Holy Spirit comes.  Then after the Spirit comes, they go outside Peter preaches to all the assembled Jews about Jesus and how He was the fulfillment of all the Old Testament and how all who confess Him as Lord shall be saved.  Thousands do and the church is born.  Pentecost is the birthday of the Church and in its birth, the church is linked hand in hand with the Spirit.  Without the Spirit, the church would not exist.  The Spirit birthed the church.  But here’s the thing.  Pentecost existed before this day.  Ever wondered why there were so many Jews together in Jerusalem?  Because it was Pentecost.  Pentecost is not just a Christian holiday, but it goes back to the Old Testament.  It is a day celebrated by both Christians and Jews, but we have different understandings of it.

For us as Christians, as mentioned above, it is the day we celebrate the giving of the Holy Spirit and the birth of the church.  For Jews, it is called Shavuot or the Feast of Weeks.  For the Jewish people, this was when they give thanks to God for the wheat harvest and when they celebrate and remember the giving of the Torah at Mt. Sinai.  This is also a pilgrimage holiday when the people were commanded to go to Jerusalem and worship in the Temple.  That is why so many were in Jerusalem, they were commanded and the came to worship.  Just the Passover meal gave birth to communion and ties in so closely to Easter, Shavuot ties so closely to the church and the Spirit. It’s another beautiful example of how God ties all of this together and how all of scripture and all of history is heading to Jesus and the birth of His Church.

With all that has been done to bring the church into existence, may those of us who make it up be faithful!

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