Pentecost marks the beginning of the Christian Church. It occurs every year, 50 days after Easter Sunday. This year we celebrate Pentecost, on June 5. While it is not as widely acknowledged as Easter or Christmas, Pentecost has great religious significance.
Why is Pentecost so important? Primarily because it marks the day when the Holy Spirit was poured out on all believers, fulfilling Jesus’ promise that he would send them another advocate (John 14:16). Let’s review the events that led to this world-changing moment and uncover the deeper meaning of Pentecost.
What Is Pentecost?
Pentecost was originally a Jewish celebration that marked the end of the wheat harvest. The festival occurred exactly 50 days after Passover and was celebrated with multiple feasts.
After Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, his apostles were celebrating Pentecost when they felt a “mighty rushing wind” enter the room. They also experienced “tongues of fire” and could suddenly understand each other’s language without difficulty. They attributed this speaking in tongues to the presence of the Holy Spirit.
Filled with the Holy Spirit, Peter addressed the crowd saying,
“Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38)
As a result of receiving this message, over 3000 were baptized that day. It’s also why you often see an increase in baptisms around this time.
Who Is The Holy Spirit?
You likely know the Holy Spirit as part of the Holy Trinity: the Father (God), the Son (Jesus) and The Holy Spirit. One God who reveals himself to us in three distinct ways. As Jesus is Baptized we read how the “Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove.” (Luke 3:21). So who exactly is the Holy Spirit?
The Holy Spirit is not an “it” but a person. In fact, the Holy Spirit is the very presence of God who dwells among us and in us (1 Corinthians 3:16). He is our comforter, advocate and guide and draws us closer to God. Sometimes it’s through a word of conviction or a word of strength and renewal. It’s also through the work of the Spirit that we come to faith in Jesus Christ and are equipped and empowered to serve.
Most likely you have experienced the Holy Spirit in different ways. The Holy Spirit can be that tug on your heart calling you to serve or that still small voice that seeks to guide you. The Holy spirit also intercedes for us when we are not sure what to pray or how to pray because of what we may be facing.
Romans 8:26-27 shares this about the Holy Spirit, “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.”
The gifting of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost was a significant moment that continues to bless the lives of all believers and empowers Christians to live out their faith and proclaim the Gospel. It’s this same Spirit that transforms hearts and lives.
How to Celebrate Pentecost
Different cultures and congregations observe Pentecost in different ways. Here are suggestions for some of the more traditional ways you can celebrate the occasion:
- Step 1: Decorate. Red is the color most associated with Pentecost. It is said to represent the tongues of fire the apostles experienced as well as the joy and fire of the Holy Spirit.
- Step 2: Plant. Spring flowers symbolize rebirth and the return of the Holy Spirit. Roses and tulips are wonderful choices.
- Step 3: Review. The story of the Pentecost in the bible takes place in the book of Acts in chapter 2. Take some time to read and reflect on the scripture that records this momentous event in our history.
- Step 4: Pray. Connect with the Holy Spirit in your own personal preferred way. Give thanks that we are able to experience grace in our lives.
- Step 5: Feast. Pentecost began as a feast after all. Gather with friends and enjoy a favorite meal together.
- Step 6: Attend. Join us at the King of Kings congregation on Pentecost Sunday. We’ll celebrate the amazing events of the Pentecost. Together we can share the spirit and give thanks for all that has come before us on this day.