Summary: Sometimes we don’t realize how much we need Pentecost. Pentecost is the birthday of the New Testament Church. Pentecost is God giving His Holy Spirit to all believers, not just a few.
During the last ten days of the Church year, we’ve been living in liturgical limbo, existing between two realities. We’ve celebrated our Lord’s ascension into heaven. But since the Ascension, we’ve been waiting. We’ve been waiting for this day. Like the Apostles of old, we’ve been listening to our Lord’s instructions to “wait in Jerusalem until you are clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:49).
So the Apostles waited. They waited because the Lord Jesus told them to wait. But there was more to this waiting than that, much more. Something powerful was to happen to them when their wait was finally over on Pentecost day. The Holy Spirit would change them. Fear would be turned into a martyr’s boldness, fishermen would become the world’s teachers, and doubt would be replaced by mountain-moving faith--all because of Pentecost!
Sometimes we don’t realize how much we need Pentecost. Pentecost is the birthday of the New Testament Church. Pentecost is God giving His Holy Spirit to all believers, not just a few. No longer was the Holy Spirit to dwell in a building, the Temple, like in the Old Testament. There, God in the form of His Shekinah, the cloud, revealed Himself to His people above the Ark of Covenant in the Holy of Holies. No longer was the Holy Spirit only given to people in positions of leadership, to do the tasks God had given them to do. Because of Pentecost, all Christians have been brought into the Royal Priesthood, and each Christian is a temple of the Holy Spirit.
Pentecost also shows that Christianity isn’t some human-created religion. If Christianity were simply of human design, even if it were the best and most beautiful religion, the disciples wouldn’t have needed to wait in Jerusalem for Pentecost. Why would they need to?
Jesus’ disciples had lived with Him for several years, a most-intense and personal seminary training. They could’ve begun writing, teaching, and passing on what they had learned without a Pentecost. Jesus had fully trained them. Now it was time for them to start training others, right? That’s how it is with other religions.
Not so with Christianity. For Christianity isn’t just about ideas, moral guidance, or ethical norms. Christianity, of course, has these things, but that’s not what the Christian faith is about. If it were, Christianity would be but another form of Phariseeism. No, Christianity is about the Holy Spirit calling someone through the Gospel, enlightening him with His gifts, and sanctifying and keeping him in the true faith. There is no New Testament Christianity without Pentecost.
Pentecost is what Jesus promised when He said He would send another Helper, a Counselor, a Guide, a Comforter. As God breathed into Adam and he became a living being, so Christ breathes the Holy Spirit of life into His people, and His people come alive. That’s what Pentecost is all about. The Spirit gives living breath. And filled with the Spirit, God’s people become alive, unable to be silent, confessing and proclaiming Jesus Christ.