Good Morning Brothers…
I know, it’s been a while since I’ve posted. I’m not dead, and thanks for the calls, texts, and emails asking about my health, etc. Life is certainly different and I’m trying to find my routine. Hopefully, I will be able to write these on a weekly basis like before…we’ll see.
It was interesting to me that Pentecost Sunday and Memorial Day were on the same weekend. Memorial Day is the day we remember all of those men and women who served our country in the military. We remember them because they served in a fashion that most of us do not. It doesn’t make them ‘more’ American that I am, but it does bear remembering. To couple this national holiday with the Christian holiday of Pentecost Sunday is a stroke of genius. I’m not sure ‘who’ thought of it, but they should be congratulated.
You’re not sure what Pentecost Sunday is…?
Well, ok…we can fix that.
Pentecost Sunday is the day we remember and celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit and the birth of the Church. Jesus told His disciples, in Luke 24:49, to wait in Jerusalem, “And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” The promise Jesus alludes to is the coming of the Holy Spirit, also referred to here in John 14:16-17, “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.” and again in John 16:7, “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.”
OK…Jesus is telling His disciples that it is better for Him to leave, because in the leaving, the Holy Spirit will be given as a helper, a guide, an instructor to nurture them along as they carry out God’s will here on earth. It’s about circles of influence. Jesus could only influence a few trapped by His human form. All human beings have the ability to influence a few, for good or evil, because we are all relational human beings. With the Holy Spirit living inside of men, it’s like multiple little Jesus’ running around influencing their circle of family and friends. One man could not reach the world, but millions of men, filled by the same Spirit found in the One man…can reach the whole world. This is why it is to our advantage that we live in the times after the coming of the Holy Spirit. I hope that makes sense…which leads us right into the day of Pentecost.
But…before we read through the Biblical account in Acts 2, I wanted to share this with you. About 4-5 years ago, I discovered that the Day of Pentecost was already a Jewish holiday, celebrated before the Holy Spirit ever descended on the disciples of Jesus. I thought to myself, “What…! Now I’m really confused.” But this is when the cool stuff was uncovered (as if the coming of the Spirit isn’t cool…forgive me Lord). Pentecost actually means ’50’, as in ’50 days after Passover’. Using my deductive reasoning, it dawns on me that the celebration of Pentecost happens every year on the Jewish calendar ’50’ days after the celebration of Passover. Digging a little deeper, we know that Passover is a remembrance of the time when the blood of lambs saved the Hebrews from the Lord’s wrath in Egypt so long ago. Continuing to dig, Pentecost is the ‘feast of weeks’, or the ‘feast of harvest’ or is also referred to as the ‘latter first fruits’. On this holiday, the Jews were to give new grains as an offering unto the Lord. What is interesting, is that the Jews believe that 50 days after the first Passover (in Egypt), that Moses was on Mt. Sinai receiving the ‘torah’ or the law. Thus, this ‘feast of weeks’ also celebrates the giving and receiving of the ‘torah’, which means guidance, instruction, and direction. So…the Jews celebrate a holiday in which they give grain offerings to the Lord, and offer praise and thanksgiving for receiving the ‘torah’ which guides, instructs, and directs.
Really, once you know all that, what other day would God choose to send the Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit who becomes the ‘law written on our hearts’, the One sent to help, to guide, to instruct, and to direct us in our walk with the Lord. Jesus is the bread of life, and any of us who eat and drink of Him, will never thirst or hunger again. He is the first fruits, He is the bread of life, and God offers that to us spiritually and eternally through the body and blood of Jesus and sealed with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Once I understand what Pentecost already meant, I can’t imagine the Holy Spirit being sent on any other day. OK…I think we are ready now. Acts 2:1-6, “When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance. Now there were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation under heaven. And when this sound occurred, the crowd came together, and were bewildered because each one of them was hearing them speak in his own language.”
We are going to have to table the comparison between Memorial Day and Pentecost Sunday for a week…next week we will tackle it. Until then…blessings.