The Day of Pentecost
If you understood Him fully (or even close), He wouldn’t be the God of the Universe. He’d just be the god you made up.
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In Acts chapter 2, we start by noting the day. Literally it says, “When the Day of Pentecost had fully come...” The Jewish people had several very important feasts throughout the year. This Day was one of them.
What is Pentecost?
The word “Pentecost” literally means “the fiftieth day” in the Greek. Which is what it was originally written in. The word itself is derived from “pentekoste” (pronounced pen-tay-kos-tay). This day was the second of the three great Jewish feasts. It was celebrated every year on the seventh week after Passover in Jerusalem. It was, specifically, a celebration of the end of harvest. Many other Jews that lived in other countries traveled back to Jerusalem for the feasts. And these “other” Jews spoke a myriad of other languages.
We as Christians celebrate Pentecost the seventh Sunday from Resurrection (Easter) Sunday. This year it is today, June 5th.
The traditions of the Jewish people for this time period goes back to the “Feast of Weeks”. Or, “Shavout”. Which, again, has to do with the final wheat harvesting. This all pointed to the time in which God gave the Torah (the first five books of the Old Testament also called the Pentateuch) to the Children of Israel at Mt. Sinai.
But now a days, most often when we speak of the Day of Pentecost, we are referencing the day in the book of Acts in which the disciples and others were praying in the “Upper Room”, seeking God and were all filed with the Baptism in the Holy Spirit.
Now there are many, many different understandings as to the significance of the experience in the Upper Room, but let’s just talk plainly about what Scripture says.
On the Day of Pentecost the Disciples were praying. Not just the 12, but all those who had been following Christ. There were about 120 altogether. They had been praying for some time. If you read from the beginning of Acts, you will note several key things leading up to this moment in time:
1. Jesus had risen from the dead and had been seen by people off and on for 40 days. In fact, he did some teaching during that time. (Acts 1:1-3)
2. He taught them to stay put in Jerusalem and wait for the Promise of the Father. Of which He (Jesus) had taught them about. He promised them that they would be “Baptized with the Holy Spirit”. So it was never just a one-off thing. God had this planned and had promised it would happen. He also explained this action would endue them with power and they would become witnesses of Him throughout the world. (Acts 1:4-8)
3. Jesus was then taken up into Heaven, bodily. Physically, He ascended into the clouds and out of sight. (Acts 1:9-11)
4. The disciples all returned to Jerusalem and went to the Upper Room and this is where they all began to pray fervently. Men AND women both. (Acts 1:12-14)
5. On the Day of Pentecost (50 days after Passover, 10 days after Jesus had ascended to Heaven), these same people were still praying in the Upper Room. Yes, they had continued. I’m sure they had breaks, slept and ate. In their persistence, God showed up:
“When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” Acts 2:1-4, NKJV
Now, people who seek the Lord in whatever way HE desires them to seek Him, will be filled in this manner and, yes, speak in tongues they themselves do not understand. And even as the crowd responded to them (Acts 2:13), we today have a tendency to respond negatively because it doesn’t fit our agenda. It’s uncomfortable. It’s weird.
However, the Bible sets a precedence in this that the men and women of God sought Him and were filled with the Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit became their key connection to Jesus and the guidance that God intended us to have for our ongoing life as Christians. Mary the mother of Jesus was a part of this group. (Acts 1:14) Yes, sweet little, wonderful Mary spoke in tongues!
Do you need to be filled and speak in another language to be saved and go to Heaven? This is a common question. but think about what you are asking. Here’s what you are really asking: What can I NOT do and still be saved? God knows the heart. Whatever you do, don’t see this day’s commemoration as a day of something you don’t understand and so don’t want to be a part of. See it as a reminder that God always has more for you.
And by the way, we learn in verses 5-12 (chapter 2) that what we say when we speak in tongues are as simple as words of worship.
Do not get stumped or hung up on the things of God that you do not understand. If you understood Him fully (or even close), He wouldn’t be the God of the Universe. He’d just be the god you made up.
There are many passages in Scripture that contain greater truth. This is one of those. The Holy Spirit was given to mankind because mankind desperately needed Him. It’s no different today. In fact, we probably need Him more than we ever have.
Don’t turn away from seeking more. Don’t lie to yourself by thinking you’ve tried and haven’t succeeded so it just isn’t for you. Don’t allow society or others (including Christians) tell you it isn’t for today or for you personally.
Jesus told us that the Holy Spirit was coming. He called Him the Spirit of Truth and that the world will not be able to accept Him or receive Him. (John 14:16-17) This same Spirit of Truth is the Holy Spirit. He will guide you, but not if you refuse to let Him in!
There’s an interesting correlation that I found in my personal research. The Religions/Denominations from around the world that focus on the Holy Spirit as a key part of their belief system remain in standards that do not compromise Scripture. They are still seeing the truth. And it is this uncompromised truth that sets us free (John 8:32). Not the words, advice, opinions, teachings, explanations, or ideas or man. Only Jesus, sent by God and revealed by the Spirit!