Summary: It is interesting how we believe in the birth of Christ and we celebrate Christmas. We also believe in the Holy Spirit but we do not celebrate His coming. Let´s turn our attention towards Pentecost and regain the awe of His coming.
What day is Christmas? December 25th. When is Easter? Sometime in the spring, late March, or April. We read in the book of Acts that the Holy Spirit first came to dwell with man at Pentecost. When is Pentecost? . . . Silence. . . It is interesting how we believe in the trinity and we celebrate Christmas, the coming of the Son of God to earth, but we do not celebrate or even know when Pentecost is. It would be good if we regained balance in this area and came to appreciate both the Son and the Spirit for the huge role they both play in our Christian lives. Let’s take some time to become more familiar with the Spirit’s coming at Pentecost.
In the book of Luke, we read of what Jesus did and what He taught, until His return to heaven. The book of Acts, Luke’s second book, begins right where the book of Luke left off. Jesus had died, been raised from the dead, and had spent 40 days with His followers showing many proofs that He truly was alive. He also taught them, during this time, about the kingdom of God. Jesus instructed them not to leave Jerusalem but to wait for the promise of the Father. He told them of how the Holy Spirit would come upon them, how they would be baptized by the Spirt, and how they would be His witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.
So that’s what they did. After Jesus ascended back to heaven on the Mount of Olives they took the short walk back to Jerusalem. They gathered in the upper room and waited. Acts 2:14 tells us how 120 followers of Christ gathered, “in one accord, devoting themselves to prayer.”
Jesus had been crucified during the Passover celebration. He had been raised from the dead and had spent 40 days with His followers before His ascension. Now the disciples were waiting and praying as the Jewish celebration, known as Pentecost, approached.
Pentecost is the Greek name of an Old Testament festival known as the “Feast of Weeks” (Leviticus 23:15; Deuteronomy 16:9). It was a “week of weeks” or 7 weeks after Passover. Seven weeks add up to 49 days. The day after was “the Fiftieth” or Pentecost. The celebration commemorated the giving of the Law to Moses at Mt. Sinai and was also a celebration of gratitude to God for the harvest.
Each year Pentecost fell at the end of May or the beginning of June. At this time of year traveling conditions were at their best. This meant that large crowds of Jews from many different countries would make the journey for this special religious celebration. In addition, by Jewish law, every male Jew living within 30 kilometers of Jerusalem was required to attend the Pentecost celebration. On Pentecost it was also against the law to work, so because of all of these factors, Jerusalem would have been very crowded, with many people in the streets, with Jews from many countries, during the Pentecost events that we find in Acts 2.
“When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.
5 Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. 6 And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. 7 And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? 9 Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, 11 both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.” 12 And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13 But others mocking said, “They are filled with new wine.”
The disciples had been praying and waiting for ten days. Not knowing what the future held they just stayed faithful to the last things Christ had told them. “Don’t leave Jerusalem. Wait for the Holy Spirit. Be my witnesses.” And on the tenth day, the Father’s promise was fulfilled.