Beyond Pentecost Sunday
“And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born? Parthians and Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs—we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.” So they were all amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “Whatever could this mean?” Acts 2:8-12
Pentecost is one of three significant feast days in Jewish tradition that closely parallel major events in the life of the Church. Each has its time and season.
Christmas and Hanukkah come and go in one or two days even though the lead up to Christmas, commercially, can last for months, The Advent Season (including Christmas Eve and Christmas Day) begins with the first Sunday of Advent and ends within approximately 35 to 40 days with Epiphany Sunday. The Celebration of Easter and Passover occurs on one day, but both are extended about a week with Lent leading up to Maundy Thursday and Good Friday leading to Easter Sunday.
Christmas is an established holiday in Church tradition but the specific day of Jesus’ birth is not definitively known. So we celebrate December 25thas a result of the early church father’s establishing that day for the whole Church in 336 AD. There are many other possibilities for why December 25this the day we celebrate Jesus birth. See https://www.whychristmas.com/customs/25th.shtmlfor a more in-depth discussion of the origin of Christmas.
By contrast, Easter is closely related to Passover because we know that it was during Passover that Jesus was arrested, tried, crucified, died, was buried and then rose again on the third day.
Pentecost is directly tied specifically to the fiftieth day after the second day of Passover, thus, the name Pentecost, (Greek: pentēkostē)= fiftieth
On that day the Holy Spirit came to dwell withthe church and inthe heart of every believer forever. Though the original coming of the Holy Spirit was on that day it was not a one and done experience. It was the beginning of the Church’s empowerment to be the witnesses of Jesus Christ.
Indeed, Pentecost is our reminder that we are to live in constant communion and submission to the work of the Hoy Spirit in us, and be lead by the Holy Spirit in every thing we do and say as Ambassadors of Jesus Christ in the Kingdom of God on earth.
We are invited and encourage to be baptized in the Holy Spirit and receive the gift to speaking in other tongues. That is a fundamental gift made available to every believer. But, we are commanded to be filled with the Spirit. That is, to be continually being filled with the Holy Spirit. It’s our part to seek that continual infilling. And we do this by asking and yielding ourselves to the power of God to work His will in us.
“See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God. Ephesians 5:15-21
It is interesting that on the day of Pentecost the people, from all over the world who had gathered in Jerusalem, heard the disciples speaking in all of their languages individually, the wonderful works of God, empowered by the Holy Spirit into Whom they had just been baptized.
As the disciples were speaking in other tongues not their own the people heard them speaking their languages. If that was not remarkable enough, the mockers accused them of being drunk with wine; meaning they were not in control of their words, that they were somehow just babbling like drunken men.
But, both things could not be true. If the people of diverse languages from foreign countries that day heard them speaking intelligent coherent words, how could they also be babbling drunkards?
What the mockers, because their hearts were hardened against God and His Son,could notunderstand and, therefore, dismissed as the vain babbling of drunks [Acts 2; 13], the common people could hear and understand,because their hearts were not resistant to hearing the wonderful works of God, and so, when Peter preached to them on that day, three thousand souls were saved and added to the church.
“Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.” Acts 2:41
The unique significance of Pentecost Sunday for the church is that it was a commencement, a beginning of the work of Jesus through His body, the Church, to the whole world. And we are the agents of that work by the power of the Holy Spirit working in us. We are to be continually being recharged with that power from day to day.
Therefore, let us pray and let us ask God the Father now, to fill us with a fresh empowerment of His Spirit to equip us to do the work of His ministry and to be refreshed, renewed and strengthened to live rich, fruitful lives of abundance and peace with thanksgiving in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. AMEN.