Looking Toward Pentecost: Christmas, Easter, and Now Pentecost — Part 1

5 05 2014

Pentecost

Christmas is deservedly a big holiday. After all, it celebrates the coming of our Lord — the Messiah — to live among us. Easter deserves the same attention. On Easter Sunday, we move beyond reflecting on the week of Christ’s suffering. His crucifixion is past. Resurrection Sunday has come, and Christian hope is renewed in us!

Curiously, it’s different with Pentecost. That’s falls on the Sunday 50 days after Passover, or after our Lord’s crucifixion. This year it will be on June 8. There are no pageants for Pentecost. Some preachers will make little of it. There are Christians who will hardly know it has come and gone.

Yet Pentecost – marking the descent of the Holy Spirit for the empowerment of Jesus’ followers – signifies the birthday of the Christian Church. This earthshaking event is recorded in Acts 2.

Consider the background for Pentecost: After his resurrection, Jesus had remained with his disciples for 40 days, instructing, encouraging, and clarifying for them their ongoing task of being his witnesses throughout the known world (Acts 1:3,8). Afterwards, he ascended into heaven and about 120 of his followers remained in Jerusalem in anticipation, praying and encouraging each other (Acts 1:4).

They did not know what to expect. How could they? Pentecost would be like nothing that had happened on earth before. There wasn’t anything in their previous experience to prepare them.

But in 50 days they had moved from being a frightened, scattered group of men and women to being a prayerful and expectant gathering of disciples. Some of them had seen the living Lord and others had heard stunning witness of his resurrection. They had believed. On the eve of Pentecost they were filled with expectation. And what an event it would be!

More on this later, as in the next few weeks I’ll write on features of Pentecost that should be experienced in the life of the church today. I suggest you dip into the first 2 chapters of The Acts of the Apostles and refresh your memory of what the church should look like when the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Jesus, is honored in all of its life.

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4 responses

6 05 2014
Francis Hatfield

Pastor Don,thankyou again for your good words.I look forward to each Monday’s blog.

At Christmas God came to us , both God and Man,through His Son..Someone without sin had to die for us to save us from sin and death..Only God is without sin.So He gave His Son,,who wholly God is without sin.But made Him born wholly human so He could die.Such love couldn’t be imagined but it happened!

At Christmas God with us.At Easter God saves us. Pastor Don,it’s so good you make so much of Pentecost.When The Holy Spirit descended like flames on the disciples is so momentous.The Spirit!Here among us!

I think if ever there should be a great open public church pageant it should be at Pentecost.When the Spirit of Jesus is here for everyone!Jesus can come into everyones life at Pentecost especially.I hope in the English city I live in,Coventry,Christians will be out among everyone sharing Jesus to change everone’s life.

I’m really excited about this series on Pentecost,Pastor Don.In a way Pentecost is the Church’s greatest time .Christmas – Easter – Pentecost!

8 05 2014
Francis Hatfield

I read Acts 1 to 2 afresh last night ,as you suggested Pastor Don.

This was my reading.Luke continues from his gospel,relating events after the crucifixion.

Chappter 1… .Jesus commands His apostles to wait in Jerusalem,for our Father’s promise,saying soon they’ll be baptized with the Holy Spirit.They are to receive power from the Spirit ,,to witness Jesus to the ends of the earth.

At Mt Olivet ,Jesus ascends to Heaven before the Apostles eyes.

Then 120 men and women disciples ,led by Peter,witness the Lord’s choice of a new 12th apostle to replace Judas Iscariot.Joseph Barsabus Justus and Matthias,followers of Jesus since His baptism by John,are proposed.By lot,Matthias is chosen.

Chapter 2 …Pentecost Day comes.The 120 men and women disciples are together,in accord ,in a house.A rushing heavenly wind fills the house and a tongue of divine fire sits on each disciple,filling each with the Holy Spirit.

Suddenly ,the 120 disciples,all Gallileans ,are empowered to speak ‘tongues’.So all understand their words ,each in their mother tongue , whether Arab,Roman,Egyptian,Libyan,Parthian or Cretan or any language.

Folk are amazed and some think they’re drunk.But Peter reminds them it ‘s only 9 am.He explains this is Joel’s prophecy come true.This is God’s Spirit poured on all flesh.Christians are empowered,some to prophesy,some to see visions,some to dream.Signs appear ,such as solar eclipses and pink moons.

Peter,I think it is he ,explains Jesus was unlawfully crucified and put to death.God raised Him.Death could not hold Hs Son.Now all who call on the Lord’s name can be saved.

Just as King David prophesied ,Jesus is raised to God’s throne as both Lord and Christ.

Peter tells everyone we must all repent and be baptised to receive the Spirit and be forgiven.

3,000 new Christians get baptized in Christian fellowship,and start taking Lord’s Supper regularly together. In good heart all believers share everything gladly and simply.Folk like what they see,and daily more are called , our church grows and more are saved.

In Chapter 3 ,Peter and John continue Jesus’s ministry,healing in His name.

Our church is begun and now 2,000 years later we are still growing.

I just wanted to say what stood out for me in these first chapters of Acts,and how I understand it.I can’t speak in tongues,so only understand that some folk are empowered with this gift by the Spirit.

These first Acts chapters are exciting and promising to read as we approach Pentecost.I’m going to read them again. It’s good to have suggested passages to read ,Pastor Don,to go with your blog.Thanks and I look forward to Pentecost part 2 next week.

8 05 2014
dnbastian

It’s been a good read for you, Francis. I hope many more readers will do the same thing. We pray together for the church around the world. its message is needed as empowered by the Spirit of God. Don Bastian

13 05 2014
Francis Hatfield

It’s been an inspiring read,Pastor Don,connecting me.Thankyou for your blog.

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