According to tradition (see the book of Jubilees) Pentecost was the day when Moses was given the Law which is based on the belief that it took the Israelites 50 days to arrive at Sinai. For Christians, Pentecost signals the coming of the “firstfruit” the Holy Spirit and with that coming, the writing of the Law on the hearts of those who follow Jesus.
In Acts 2 the story of the first New Testament Pentecost is told, seeing the birth of the church. Jesus had promised his followers they would be empowered to be his witnesses and it all began on this day. For the first time Peter and the apostles preached the good news, and the Jews who were gathered heard it in their own language. About 3,000 accepted the message and were baptised that day.
It was a day of miracles in many ways. Not only did people hear and receive the gospel, but Peter, inspired by the Spirit, was able to explain to the people what was going on (the crowds had thought people were drunk at nine in the morning!) Peter and the hundred or so with him were empowered as Jesus had promised and showed boldness and courage as they shared the amazing story that Jesus, who had been crucified, was now alive and was indeed the long promised Messiah.
The day of Pentecost was a turning point. Following Jesus was no boring religion but an amazing adventure. The Holy Spirit is God in action turning ordinary people into bold missionaries, filling them with confidence and bringing the church into being.
The church needs such empowering, confidence and courage today as much as it did all those years ago. Thankfully, the Holy Spirit is still with us and can do the same for us today. Let us pray that God will enable your church to be all that you are called to b,e and that you too will be empowered and courageous witnesses to Jesus.
Stephen L Baxter