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  • Writer's pictureBarbara Byers


Updated: Oct 13, 2021

Jesus had appeared to his disciples for 40 days after his resurrection. At a meal together, he instructed them not to leave Jerusalem but to wait because the gift the Father promised was coming. In a few days they would be baptized with the Holy Spirit and receive power and witness to the world (Acts 1:4-5). Jesus was taken up, and the disciples gathered and waited in the city for Pentecost.

Pentecost is a Greek word signifying 50 (the Hebrew word is Shavuot). Counting down from Passover, when God delivered his people out of Egypt, only 50 days later he gave Moses the law on Mt. Sinai and the people entered into covenant with him as their God. Jews believe that at Mt. Sinai God took the nation of Israel as his bride so are jubilant at Pentecost which was and is a celebratory day that began at sundown with feasting and lasted all night into the next day. At midnight the gates of the Temple were thrown open for people to bring offerings and sacrifices. Thousands of Jews gathered in the city at this significant time. Fifty days after Passover, that time when Jesus the Lamb was sacrificed, the disciples also gathered, praying, worshipping and waiting in the Upper Room for the fulfillment of the Father’s amazing promise.

1500 years before this the law had been given to Moses and when the people were watching at the foot of the mountain, the mountain shook, the wind blew, fire came down from heaven and the law was written on stone. Now the same things happened - the violent wind and the fire from heaven (Acts 2:1-4), and by 9 the next morning the astonishing effects were seen by all. Just as Joel has prophesied, his Spirit was being poured out on all people. God was now writing his law on the human heart, granting new hearts and the outpouring of his Spirit (Ezek.36:26).

3000 people were saved that day and now every believer is a recipient of the same Spirit. Jesus was sacrificed for us, and when we receive him, allowing him to baptize us in his Spirit, we are set on the path of discovery of the empowering Presence. Our only requirement is Acts 2:38: “Repent, and each one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Now our Pentecost is a day of celebration of the Holy Spirit, the promised gift who has come to us and is continually active in our lives to create, gift, empower, counsel, direct and sanctify us. What a gift we have been given, one we can fully celebrate fully this Pentecost Sunday. Come, Holy Spirit!

Special thanks to Signa Bodishbaugh for a teaching given some years ago at Pastoral Care Ministry School from which this is drawn.

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