The Day of Pentecost
Pentecost, from Greek pentecostē, “50th day”. Is a major day of Remembrance in the Christian Church, celebrated on the Sunday that falls on the 50th day of Easter. It commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles and other disciples following the Crucifixion, Resurrection, and Ascension of Jesus Christ (Acts chapter 2), and it marks the beginning of the Christian church’s mission to the world.
The Jewish feast of Pentecost (Shavuot) was primarily a thanksgiving for the firstfruits of the wheat harvest, but it was later associated with a remembrance of the Law given by God to Moses on Mount Sinai. The church’s transformation of the Jewish feast to a Christian Day of remembrance was thus related to the belief that the gift of the Holy Spirit to the followers of Jesus was the firstfruits of a new dispensation that fulfilled and succeeded the old dispensation of the Law.
When this day of Pentecost remembrance was first celebrated in the Christian church is not known, but it was mentioned in a work from the Eastern Church, the Epistola Apostolorum, in the 2nd century. In the 3rd century it was mentioned by Origen, theologian and head of the catechetical school in Alexandria, and by Tertullian, Christian priest and writer of Carthage.
In the early church, Christians often referred to the entire 50 days period beginning with Easter as Pentecost. Baptism was administered both at the beginning of Easter and at the end day of Pentecost. Eventually, Pentecost became a more popular time for baptism than Easter in northern Europe, and in England the feast was commonly called White Sunday (Whitsunday) for the special white garments worn by the newly baptized.
In The First Prayer Book of Edward VI (1549), the feast was officially called Whitsunday, and this name has continued in Anglican churches. In Catholic and other Western churches, priests often wear red vestments during Pentecost to symbolize the “tongues of fire” that descended on the disciples from the Holy Spirit; members of the congregation also wear red in some traditions, and the altar is commonly dressed in a red frontal cloth. Learn More here
The Important of Pentecost?
In the Old Testament, the day of Pentecost was a celebration held 50 days after the Jewish festival of Passover (Leviticus 23:16, Exodus 34:22). In the New Testament, on the day of Pentecost, after the death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit came powerfully upon His disciples, enabling them to speak in foreign languages, called “tongues” among Christian today that they had not studied, and to proclaim the Gospel boldly to those gathered in Jerusalem for the feast of Pentecost recorded in the Book of Acts 2. The events recounted on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2 have a number of important implications for Christians today.
1. Jesus Presence with us Always
After His resurrection, Jesus promised to always be with the disciples (Matthew 28:20). Then He left them and went up to heaven (Luke 24:51). However, the spirit of Jesus namely, the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples at Pentecost, fulfilling Jesus’ promise to be with the disciples always.
2. Preaching of the Gospel for all peoples on Earth
Prior to Jesus’ coming, a person had to be a Jew to be one of God’s people. Or you had to convert to Judaism, including culture, customs, traditions, etc. However, the supernatural proclamation of the Gospel in other tongues on the day of Pentecost was God’s way of powerfully declaring that the Gospel is for all peoples, cultures, tongues and languages. People from any culture or language can be God’s people. They do not need to convert to Judaism. They can stay in their own culture, and use their own language, hear the gospel preached to them in their own language and understanding, accept Jesus Christ as personal Lord and Savior and still be a believer. They don’t need to follow Jewish tradition, language and customs to know God and worship Him. Even more than that, God is now calling all people everywhere to repent and believe the Gospel as scriptures stated in Acts 2:38-39.
3. Crystal Clarity of the Power for Testimony
The disciples were scared and not yet proclaiming the Gospel widely, prior to Pentecost. Jesus knew this and told them that He was sending His Holy Spirit (Luke 24:49, John 14:16-18). That way, they would receive power to be witnesses of their risen Lord, Jesus Christ, throughout the world (Acts 1:8). Before Pentecost, the Spirit of the Lord was not absent as He was involved in creation (Genesis 1:2) and in regenerating God’s elect, so that they would believe in Him (John 3:8, Titus 3:5). But at Pentecost, the Spirit came much more powerfully upon Jesus’ disciples, and now dwells in them and empowers all disciples of Jesus today to be His witnesses (Acts 1:8 and Ephesians 1:13-14). The coming of the Spirit at Pentecost and the specific events of that day were a one-time event, but the Spirit continues to be present with all Christians, enabling them to tell others (the whole world) about Christ Jesus and to live the Christian life with great boldness and great grace.
4. The Holy Spirit and the effect of witnessing the Gospel
The outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost is also a blessing in another way. It’s not because of the apostles that so many people repented and started to believe in Christ Jesus. Neither the Apostle or any preacher or witness of the Gospel can change the heart of someone else. Neither can a hearer of the Gospel change his or her own heart. But the Holy Spirit Himself, through the preaching and hearing of the Gospel of Jesus Christ work in the heart of the hearer to create new life in people (John 3:8). As a result of that regeneration and renewing work of the Spirit, people start to acknowledge their sins and seek salvation in Jesus Christ, who is crucified and resurrected from the dead. This is the greatest miracle, when a man is saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone. This is the Power of the Gospel.
5. Pentecost Mark the Beginning Living in the end times
After the Holy Spirit came down to indwelt in the disciples at the day of Pentecost, Peter stood up and explained to those listening about the meaning of what they had seen and heard. His explanation is recorded in Acts 2:14-36. In short, he said that the coming of the Spirit was the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy about what would happen when the Messiah, who is Jesus Christ came at the end of time. The amazing events of Pentecost signal the beginning of the end of the world. Many people think about the end of the world as something in the far future, but in the Bible, the end of the world or, the end times is a long period of time, beginning with the first coming of Jesus Christ more than 2000 years ago and concluding with the second coming of Christ when He returns to judge the world. Everything in-between the first coming and second coming of Jesus Christ is considered the end times. The coming of the Spirit at Pentecost was a sign that the end of the world is coming soon.
Learn More: History of The Church of Pentecost
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