Welcome to Pentecost Sunday

Welcome to Pentecost Sunday – a very special day in our church calendar when we celebrate the birth of the Christian Church over 2,000 years ago in Jerusalem. Pentecost, a Greek word, means “fifty days” and was celebrated 50 days after Passover. Pentecost was also known by the Jews as the Festival of Weeks, a festival of thanksgiving for the harvested crops.  Pentecost in the time of the Apostles was a great and grand harvest holiday celebration. The streets of Jerusalem were clogged with thousands of pilgrims who had come from every point of the compass to celebrate the goodness of God and the bringing in of the wheat harvest.

In our modern day of the New Testament church however, we do not celebrate Pentecost in the way that the Old Testament Hebrews did.

Pentecost was the moment in history, 50 days after Christ’s resurrection and 10 days after He had ascended to His Father. Jesus had promised during the gospel narratives, during his earthly ministry, that He would leave, but also that He would send the comforter, the Holy Spirit and it was at that moment in Pentecost where the Spirit came, and He empowered the early believers, particularly Peter.

It was Peter who stood up and said to the crowds, “Let me tell you about the Messiah, about who He is” and He quoted from the prophet Joel, speaking confidently, in the power of the Spirit. That is when thousands came into the faith, and it went from this little sect of believers who followed a Jewish rabbi from Nazareth, who died and rose again, to the church suddenly breaking forth into the culture. Suddenly it became an unstoppable force that no one could really deny any longer.

Pentecost has taken on a new significance for us. It, at one point, was just a historical memory. Now it is the living reality of the moment that the Spirit of God burst forth. Pentecost has become a marker in history to what many people would say was “the moment that the church was born”.  So I hope you will celebrate this historic and wondrous birthday this Sunday.

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