SUMMARY: What is Pentecost, and what does it mean? For some reason, we don’t discuss or define some of the more significant days in our history. While Christmas and Easter tend to get a lot of attention, Pentecost does not yet it is an important day in the life of the church. In this Resolute Podcast, Vince Miller addresses the meaning, significance, and celebration of this day.
What is Pentecost?
What is up with Pentecost and what does it mean? For some reason in the church today we don’t discuss or define some of the more significant days in our history. While Christmas and Easter tend to get a lot of attention, and maybe some marketing as well, Pentecost is not a much talked about the day. This is a significant day in the life of the church. In this Resolute Podcast, Vince Miller addresses the meaning, significance, and celebration of this day. And how why this marker is necessary.
So what is Pentecost? Well, this word had Jewish roots and meant the “50th Day.” But since what is interesting is that this day collides with both a Jewish celebration and a major Christian event.
The occurrence of this appears in the Bible in Acts chapter 2. Let me read the first few verses, and then we will discuss the collision of these two days.
1 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 language being spoken. 7 Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? (Verses 9-11 are a list of 17 languages) 12 Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?”
- Like blowing – sound, and not damaging anything
- Seemed to tongues of fire – visual, again not singing or burning the people
- God is making auditory and visual what we cannot see as proof
- Mental capacity of this experience – People we understanding
- Speak in other tongues (language)
- A few sensory experiences as the revelation of the Holy Spirit
So first notice in verse 1 it says that “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.” Now the reason he crowds were gathered was to mark the Jewish celebration of Shavuot or the Feast of Weeks. Jews celebrate this on “50th Day.” This is a major Jewish festival held on the 6th or 7th of Sivan, 50 days after the second day of Passover. It was originally a harvest festival, but in contemporary times is a celebration commemorating the giving of the Law on Mount Sinai. It is for renewing a Jewish commitment to the Law.
But during this celebration collided with a supernatural event initiated by God that Jesus and the believers were anticipating – the coming of the Holy Spirit. For on this day Christians celebrate Christ’s Ascension and the coming of the Holy Spirit. Again, this is worth a total read today of the story in Acts 1-2. And because of this event that empowered the communication of the gospel thousands that were added to their number on the “birthday of the Church.” It’s the day when whole communities either started to accept and live by Jesus’ message or made a transition toward Christ.
“There is not a better evangelist in the world than the Holy Spirit. If the churches would just let Him come in, there would soon be mighty work for Christ.” Dwight L Moody.
Now too often we read narratives like this in the text and want to duplicate them. But this is not the goal of this moment. For Christ followers, in their day, this moment was about obedience and the Spirit that would empower us to proclaim the gospel. And that through the Spirit we have the power to proclaim the gospel to the world that will leave a lasting impression on others leading to a permanent change in their life.
So Pentecost for us is the birthday of the church. So Happy Birthday church. Happy 1984th birthday. And you thought you were old. So today continue the legacy by communicating the life-saving gospel to others.