Today is Pentecost Sunday. Unlike Christmas and Easter this day passes with little fanfare that there is a good chance you will not think about it.
This is the day that the church, the “called-out ones” of God, was born. On that day, the Spirit of God descended on the 120 followers of Jesus and they started speaking out loud in languages from around the world. Peter spoke the first gospel message and ‘three thousand were added to their number that day’ Acts 2: 41.
Pentecost as recorded in Acts Chapter 2 was not the first Pentecost!
In the time of Moses, several festivals were prescribed and celebrated. The festival of Passover was the first to be celebrated. And Jesus, the Lamb of God, was sacrificed on the same day that all Jews were sacrificing their lambs in memory of their first Passover.
Fifty days after Passover the Jews celebrated the Feast of Pentecost. In fact, the reason that there were people from all languages who were in Jerusalem that day to hear Peter’s message was precisely because they were there to celebrate the Old Testament Pentecost.
Lev. 23: 16-17; Numb. 28: 26.
On Mount Sinai, God’s presence was accompanied by fire, smoke, and the sound of thunder Ex. 19: 16-19. God’s presence during Pentecost was accompanied by the sound of wind, tongues of fire, and the gift of different languages. Acts 2: 1-3.
When God gave the Law to Moses on Mount Sinai, the people were worshiping the golden calf, about 3,000 people died as punishment for their sins – Ex. 32: 28. When the Holy Spirit was given during Pentecost, the people repented, and about 3,000 people believed and were saved – Acts. 2: 41.
That is the effect of the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have passed from death to life.
Christians are meant to live in the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit helps us to confess Jesus as Lord 1st Cor. 12:3, empowers us to serve God with supernatural power 1st Cor. 12: 4-11, binds us together as the body of Christ 1st Cor. 12: 12-13, helps us to pray Rom. 8: 26, and even intercedes for us with God the Father Rom. 8: 27. The Spirit guides us Gal. 5: 25, helping us to live like Jesus Gal. 5: 22-23.
Each Christian needs to ask: Am I serving God through the power of the Holy Spirit? Pentecost is a time to ask God to fill us afresh with the Holy Spirit. It is a time to renew our commitment to fulfilling our crucial role in the ministry of God’s people in the world.
Are we open to what the Spirit of God wants to do in our churches and communities? Pentecost is a day for us to recommit to equipping and encouraging all Christians for their ministry. When we do this, the Holy Spirit will be free to use the church of Jesus Christ for God’s purposes in the world.
God bless you, and have a great week ahead, and may it be your best so far!
Your Vicar and Friend.
The Revd. Canon Kiri Wakama.