“When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit.” Acts 2:1-3,4a NIV
I had decided to write a blog for Pentecost, to celebrate the giving of the Holy Spirit to the disciples. But as I researched Pentecost, I found so much more. Firstly, that God’s plan for our redemption and salvation was always in place. So let me bore you for just a moment (or two) with some history.
In the Old Testament books of Leviticus and Deuteronomy, God set up the festivals and celebrations that His people were to observe. Passover, with the sacrifice of the lamb, recognized the redemption of Israel from slavery in Egypt. The following 7 days were the Feast of Unleavened Bread which celebrated the sanctification of Israel (yeast represented sin). The Feast of Weeks (Shavuot), also known as Pentecost (which means “fiftieth” in Greek) was observed 50 days after the Passover. This festival was a celebration of the first fruits of the wheat harvest and a time to recall the giving of the law at Sinai, 50 days after the crossing of the Red Sea. There were others, but these three we are focusing on all required that the people journey to Jerusalem, to the temple, to celebrate.
Now we jump forward in time to Jesus and His disciples coming into Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. Halleluiahs and palm branches and crowded streets. Jesus teaches each day in the temple, more people believe but others grow angry. His disciples prepare the place for the Passover meal. Jesus shares the traditional Seder meal with His disciples and introduces the new covenant. Jesus becomes the sacrificial lamb for our redemption. Jesus takes our sins upon Himself and offers us sanctification. Jesus is risen! The good news spreads!
Fifty days later, the streets of Jerusalem are once again crowded. It is the Feast of Weeks, Shavuot, Pentecost. The disciples are gathered together and the Holy Spirit of the Lord whooshes in and the fire separates into individual flames that rest on each of them. The old covenant, the law, is fulfilled in Jesus and the new covenant, the Spirit, is given.
God’s presence was with His people as a pillar of fire that led the Israelites out of Egypt, a burning bush that drew Moses, a fire cloud that covered the tabernacle by night. But now God’s presence is the Holy Spirit, His fire that lives in each of us. Jesus redeemed and sanctified us so that the presence of God might live in each of us. This is the Pentecost that we celebrate today!
This week celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit, the in dwelling of God’s presence.
I thank God for each of you! And I thank you for joining me this week as we explore the history of Pentecost and proclaim the Holy Spirit of God in us.
Blessings and peace!