The Power of Pentecost
When God sends forth the Spirit amazing things happen:
barriers are broken,
communities are formed,
opposites are reconciled,
unity is established,
disease is cured,
addiction is broken,
cities are renewed,
races are reconciled,
hope is established,
people are blessed,
and church happens.
Today is Pentecost Sunday, which marks the end of the Easter season in the Christian calendar, by celebrating the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles. Originally from the Greek Πεντηκοστή [ἡμέρα], Pentēkostē [hēmera], or referring to “the Fiftieth [day]”, it was celebrated as a feast day of Shavuot in Israel which marked the giving of the law (10 Commandments) on Sinai around 1440 BC. Later, following the events of the life of Jesus and His death and subsequent resurrection, it marked a time of celebration for Christians, as well, taking place 7 weeks (50 days) following the resurrection and 10 days after His ascension into heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father.
On this day, 120 of Christ’s followers were gathered in the upper room, when all would receive Baptism by the Holy Spirit. This number included the 11 remaining Apostles as well as the 2 Mary’s, and is related in Acts 2:1-6 (NIV), “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. 5 Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 6 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken.”
According to the Apostle Peter, this all occurred in fulfillment of the prophesy foretold in Joel 2:28-29 (ESV), “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. 29 Even on the male and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit.”
Today we who celebrate Christianity, understand Pentecost to represent the establishment of the new body of believers, or “The Day the Christian Church was Born”, and we treat it as a time of renewal for our own Christian faith. It is a time when we should focus on sharing our faith with others as we seek to deepen our fellowship, both one with the other, just as the Apostles and the others in the upper room did, and with God, as well! How it is celebrated by the various denominations that comprise Christianity may differ. Some faiths use this time to renew their Baptisms as children of God by the performing of Baptisms on the children within the church family. Yet others use this day to herald a period when there is a renewed focus on evangelism which the empowerment of a renewal by the Holy Spirit affords to us! But whether you wear white (or red), or decorate your worship area with banners depicting wind and fire….however you choose to offer your commemoration….do so with a renewed strength of purpose in becoming the best person of faith you can be!
“Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear.”
Acts 2:33 (NIV)
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