by Tad Lindley
This coming Sunday is Pentecost Sunday. Pentecost is a Greek word meaning “fiftieth”. In Hebrew the name of the feast is Shavuot. Pentecost, or Shavuot, falls 50 days after Passover in the Jewish calendar. This feast commemorates the events at Mt. Sinai where God handed down the 613 laws to Moses.
57 days in 3 paragraphs
We read about Jesus coming into Jerusalem riding in on a donkey. The people were laying down palm fronds and even their coats in the road. They were shouting and giving glory to God. This all occurred as Jesus’ disciples were preparing to celebrate the Passover in Jerusalem (Matthew 21).
Space prevents all but a short summary here. Jesus was arrested, mocked, beaten, and killed within days. After three days he came out of the tomb. For forty days he was seen by over 500 different believers (I Corinthians 15:5-6).
During this time, he commanded his disciples to go to Jerusalem and wait. He promised that they would be endued with power from on high (Luke 24:49). And he went on to explain ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you (Acts 1:8). And then forty days after he came out of the tomb, Jesus ascended to heaven.
The Day of Pentecost ~29 AD
Their number had dropped from 500 to 120 believers. They were meeting daily in Jerusalem. It was getting close to the fiftieth day after Passover. The city was bustling with people from all over the Mediterranean that had come to celebrate Pentecost. The 120 believers were gathered in an upper room in Jerusalem. They were waiting to receive power from on high that would come when they received the Holy Ghost.
And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. (Acts 2:1-4)
3,000 people born again
Apparently the believers were so excited they the spilled out into the street, still speaking in tongues. Passersby heard them and saw them. Some asked, “What meaneth this?” Others accused them of being drunk (Acts 2:12-13). To quell the charges of drunkenness, the Apostle Peter stood up before the crowd and began to preach.
Peter preached under the influence of the Holy Ghost. From among the huge crowd there were 3,000 that believed what he was preaching. These that believed repented, and were baptized in Jesus’ name for the forgiveness of their sins (Acts 2:41).
Why doesn’t this still happen in every place today?
Across the centuries Christianity has been altered by the teachings of men. At one point in time in church history, people were prohibited from eating salt on Friday unless they bought a salt eating permit from the church. Other churches quit baptizing and started sprinkling. Others denied the power in the gift of the Holy Ghost. Others sold the forgiveness of sins as if it were a license to sin.
As a result, there is a wide variety of beliefs and experiences among those who trace their roots back to the Christian church in the Book of Acts. The Pentecostal experience still does happen. People from all types of backgrounds and belief systems are seeking God and being filled with his Spirit just like the New Testament church.
Pentecost is for all people
Peter told the crowd on the day of Pentecost, For the promise [by this he is referring to the gift of the Holy Ghost] is for you, and your children, to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call (Acts 2:39). In Jesus’ undying invitation to humanity, If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink. He that believeth on me as the scripture hath said out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. This spake he concerning the Spirit. (John 7:38-39) Anyone can experience Pentecost. Jesus has made the gift of the Holy Ghost available to whoever is thirsty.
If it is your desire to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, and you wonder what you must do, I refer you to the Bible: Then Peter said unto them, “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.” (Acts 2:38)
Experience Pentecost! The entire New Testament church can’t be wrong.
Tad Lindley is a minister at the United Pentecostal Church in Bethel, Alaska.