Tuesday, 22 May 2018

The Feast of Pentecost

Scripture:  Acts 2 v 1 - 4: "And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
 2  And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
 3  And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
 4  And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance."

This past Sunday we celebrated the Feast of Pentecost.  The word Pentecost means 50 days. The original Pentecost, celebrated by the Hebrews who escaped from Egypt, was counted from Passover to when the Law was given to Moses on Mount Sinai.

The Ascension of Jesus into Heaven took place 40 days after His Resurrection. He told His disciples to wait in Jerusalem for the Promise of the Father, when power would come upon them to be witnesses to Jesus' life, ministry and the power of His Resurrection.

The promise was the baptism in the Holy Spirit and He came ten days later on the Jewish Feast of Pentecost. This now also became a Christian celebration as it marks the true birth of the Church of Jesus Christ.

The disciples, 120 of them, including Mary the mother of Jesus, were waiting in an upper room, when they heard a sound like a mighty rushing wind. There was no actual wind just a sound. Suddenly there appeared flames of fire on their heads and they began to speak in tongues very loudly.  

The phenomenon of speaking in tongues, also known as glossalalia, is a gift of the Holy Spirit, which is given as a sign of being baptized in the Holy Spirit.  Acts 19 v 1 - 6: " And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples,
 2  He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.
 3  And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism.
 4  Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.
 5  When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
 6  And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied."

On the Day of Pentecost there were many foreigners in Jerusalem and they were drawn to the commotion. Some of the tongues were in languages they understood and they translated the words to those around. "They are speaking of the glory of God and His mighty acts!"

Some thought they were just noisy drunks but others said that it was only 9 o'clock in the morning. The Apostle Peter went out to the crowd of about 3000 and preached about Jesus to them, accusing them of being responsible for His death.  They cried out to him because they were convicted of sin, "What must we do to be saved?" 

And his answer is recorded in Acts 2 v 38-39: "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call."

So the same 3000 crowd who cried Hosanna to the King when Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey just before Passover, were the same 3000 who yelled Crucify Him three days later! Now they cried out for salvation as they realised who they had killed.

Interestingly, in Exodus 32v19-28 the death of 3000 who built the golden calf is described. This was on the first Pentecost when the Law was given. So the Law brought death and the Holy Spirit brought life.
Romans 8 v 2: "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death."

The law of sin and death was the Law of Moses. Before the Law there was no sin, and the penalty of sin is death.  The Holy Spirit comes in AFTER all sin is cleansed by the Blood of Jesus and thus brings life as all penalties are cancelled.

So those who have retreated from Christianity back into the Law and the keeping of Sabbath etc have chosen death over life. Paul asked in Galatians 3 - Who has bewitched you O foolish people? You began in the Spirit but now you do not obey the truth!

I urge you to reconsider your position and follow Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit into life everlasting. 

Paul said the Promise of the Father was also for those afar off - he was looking both to distant lands and far into the future. We are those he was referring to and are able to have a personal relationship with Jesus and know the fullness of the Holy Spirit to worship the Father and speak of His wonderful works.

Prayer: Heavenly Father we are thankful to receive Your promise of the Holy Spirit who is our Friend, Teacher, Comforter and the One who empowers our witness of Jesus. He convicts of sin, righteousness and judgment and He must never be grieved nor quenched. Help us Father to revere and respect and love the Holy Spirit who changes us to be like Jesus. In Jesus' name. Amen.