Then Comes Pentecost — Part 2

5791375569_43603813b3_mPentecost is the Greek word for “fifty.” The incomparable outpouring of God’s power called Pentecost took place exactly that many days after Passover. This year it will be celebrated on June 8.

Originally, Pentecost was celebrated as Feast of Weeks. This feast gave thanks at the first ingathering of the grain harvest. On the Pentecost  Sunday reported in the Acts of the Apostles, Jerusalem overflowed with pilgrims. There were about 3000 who responded to the message Peter preached,  and were baptised and gathered into the young church (Acts 2:41).

Early on that original Pentecost Sunday, as the company of 120 loyal disciples were sitting together, a sound “like the blowing of a violent wind” came unexpectedly from heaven and filled the place (Acts 2:2). There were also what appeared like “tongues of fire” that separated so as to rest on each of them individually.

The scripture account tells us that “All were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them” (Acts 2:4). This was obviously the Father’s accommodation to those present who spoke the many different languages represented by the gathered crowd. It was the reversal of the confusion visited in judgment at the tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1–9).

What is the symbolism of wind and fire? Wind is invisible and mysterious but it makes itself felt and its existence cannot be denied. In wind’s gentle form it was the breath God breathed into man to make man a living being (Genesis 2:7).

Ezekiel’s vision of a valley of dry bones uses the symbolism of wind. When he prophesied to a virtual graveyard, the scattered bones were to come to life. He was prompted in his vision to say, “Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe into these slain that they may live” (Ezekiel 37:9).

The sound of a violent wind at Pentecost symbolized the inrushing presence of God who was ordering a new day and offering to all people the new life in the Kingdom of God. In addition, he was empowering them for effective witness to those who did not yet believe.

The tongues of fire at Pentecost symbolized the Lord in his utter holiness. Fire purges and refines — for example, burning up impurities in the making of strong metal. It also represents the great outflow of divine energy. Fire warms, just as the Spirit ignited the devotion of the disciples. Fire ignites — as the speech of Peter and others on that great day became alive and penetrating.

These supernatural phenomena represented the Holy Spirit’s equipping of the disciples for the church’s witnessing task on earth — “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

In this 50 day interim between Resurrection Sunday, April 20, and Pentecost Sunday, June 8, let us prepare our hearts for a renewal of faith and witness under the impetus of the Holy Spirit — confessing when necessary half heartedness in faith, pockets of unbelief, unconfessed sin, and renewing of broken relationships.

Not least, let us open ourselves to the rekindling of the fires of Pentecost in our hearts for the fulfillment of our Christian task on earth.

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Image credit: Waiting for the Word (via flickr.com)

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One thought on “Then Comes Pentecost — Part 2

  1. I really look forward to these blogs ,Pastor.

    The more one reads the bible,the more correspondences one finds.I never thought about how’ speaking tongues ‘in Acts is a reversal of the babble of Babel in Genesis.

    In Acts people of all nationalities are united by being able to hear the Christian message whatever their nationality and language .At Babel the post Flood people,united by one common language ,were now made to suddenly speak different languages.

    I think it was proud King Nimrod, but I’m not sure,who misled the people into trying to build a tower,in the vain attempt to reach Heaven and equal God.The people had to be saved from this mad folly, so God scattered them by dividing their language.We never learn!

    Just as God had to banish us from Eden when we stupidly thought we could be equal to God through eating the fruit of the tree of Knowledge.It was the serpent who misled us then & it wouldn’t surprise me to learn that it was the devil who put into the Babylonian minds the crazy idea of building a tower to Heaven.But that’s just my speculation.It just seems it’s always pride that spoils things for us!

    But at Pentecost the Spirit was given to us to empower us to witness our Lord and the Spirit is an antidote to pride,I’ve learned. We know to trust our Lord because He gave His Son to save us.Wheras the tempter always leads us to grief.

    Pastor Don pastors us to renew our faith in the Holy Spirit by confessing any half -heartedness in faith,any unbelief,and any unconfessed sins.And to renew our broken relationships.

    No matter what I may sometimes like to think,I know half – heartedness,pockets of unbelief,unconfessed sins and broken relationships are all in some way part of my life.The source of all my unhappiness.

    Lent was a great oppurtunity for self examination,,saying sorry to God and strenthening through self denial and Easter a time of great hope and promise.Now,through Pastor Don’s words,,I learn Pentecost too is a very special time of oppurtunity.

    This is a season to rekindle the Christian fire in our hearts and play our full appointed part in building our Lord’s Kingdom here on earth ,as it is in Heaven,By His grace.I know that’s the only way I’ll ever be happy and right with the Lord. I want to make Pentecost count this year!

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