Post Number One: Pentecost, A Lesson In Church History
This is the first in a series that, in my humble opinion, mark The Five Most Important Dates in the History of the Church.
I have always been amazed at how little Christians know about Pentecost. Now, I don’t mean that as an insult but more an indictment on myself as a church leader. Until I did my seminary work I really thought it was simply another Christian date in church history. A Few Questions For You
- Why so many people were in Jerusalem?
- What they were celebrating?
- Do you know that Pentecost marks the first day in church history?
Some context: The church was still in it’s infancy. Jesus was with his followers after his resurrection 40 days.
“He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.” (Acts 1.3 ESV)
Jesus told the church that he would send the Holy Spirit to receive their next baptism “not many days from now.” By my count it would have been exactly seven days following these words. (Passover plus three days deducted from 50 is seven). Jesus told them “not to depart from Jerusalem.” They went to the City of David, which is just on the outskirts of the Dung Gate. Meanwhile, the Jewish people were staying in the same area celebrating The Feast of Weeks, which is seven weeks of seven days and culminates on the day Shavu’ot. The Feast is the celebration of the first fruits being brought to the Temple. These two important events (Passover and Feast of Weeks) in Jewish history celebrated the freeing of bondage and the giving of the Torah to the Jewish nation.
Do you see the connection? Shavu’ot marks the day of Pentecost.
On the same day of the year that God gave the Jewish people the Torah he gave those who followed him the Holy Spirit.
Do you see the irony?
There are few moments in time that mark history as the day of Pentecost.
The Holy Spirit made himself present the first time following the death and resurrection of Jesus. On this day grace was revealed as it had never been before. There is only one time per year the Jewish people would celebrate the giving of the Law of Moses. So when the apostle John said in his first writing,
“For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” (John 1.16, 17 ESV)
Do you see the irony now? Jews were in Jerusalem celebration the giving of the Law! The Law was given to Moses. Christians celebrate this day as Pentecost. Grace was offered to all who believe, confess, repent from their prior thinking and are baptized. Christians were offered grace through Jesus Christ. This year Pentecost falls on May 15. We should be thankful for grace everyday but if there is ever a day to celebrate for the free gift of grace it is the Day of Pentecost.