Summary: The Day of Pentecost reflects a cylcle of spiritual life in the first church designed by God to be a prototype for all churches.
Water Baptism Series
#2 - Water Baptism and the Day of Pentecost
Text: Selected verses from Acts chapters 1 & 2
The Book of Acts opens with a description of meetings that Jesus had with his disciples before his ascension. Momentous days lie ahead and only Jesus knew this. Our Lord took time to give commandments and to speak about things concerning the Kingdom of God. He also showed them many infallible proofs that dispelled any doubts they might have about his resurrection from the dead. (Acts 1: 2-3). It might well be asked, what did Jesus say about the Kingdom? What were his commands? What proofs did he show? With the exception of our Lord’s command that the disciples wait in Jerusalem until they received the Holy Spirit, the Bible does not record the specifics of either our Lord’s words or actions.
I believe there is a reason for this. Nothing needed to be added to the knowledge about the teachings and works of Jesus than that which is contained in the four gospels. The nature and power of Jesus Christ and the kingdom of God had been well documented in those writings. The time had come for the person and work of Holy Spirit to be revealed. His mission was, and still is, to reveal Jesus Christ to the world. Without Holy Spirit all we would know about Jesus would be the historical records. With Holy Spirit we are united to Christ and his life and power becomes ours.
The creative acts of God are described in the Bible as coming from all three persons in the trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. All three were present and active when the earth was created in the beginning. What can be termed as the re-creative acts of redemption also involve all three persons of the trinity. The Father planned redemption and gave his son to the world as a love gift. The Son readily accepted his Father’s will, left his place in glory, became a man, and died for the sins of the world. The Holy Spirit came on the Day of Pentecost to work tirelessly in both the church and the world. He fills the church and endows it with gifts. In the world he functions as the one who convinces mankind of its need for the gospel.
The word “Pentecost” was the name given to one of three principle feasts observed by the nation of Israel.
First, was the Feast of Passover, which commemorated the deliverance of Israel from oppressive and cruel slavery at the hands of the Egyptians. God delivered his people Israel by protecting them from judgment through the covering of their households with the blood of a lamb that was slain. The Feast of Passover began on the 14th day of the first month of the year and lasted 7 days..
Second, was The Feast of Pentecost, which was also called the Feast of Weeks, The Feast of Harvest and the Feast of First Fruits. It was an agricultural festival that began 7 weeks after the Feast of Passover. This was a time for joy and thanksgiving to God for his blessing and provisions. Special attention was to be given to the Levite, to strangers and to orphans and widows. They were invited to join in the celebration. (Deuteronomy 16:11&14). When Moses received the law at Mount Sinai it happened at the time of the Feast of Pentecost.
The Feast of Tabernacles was the third principle Jewish Feast and was held after the general harvest was gathered in. It was also called the Feast of Ingathering.
The events that occurred on the Day of Pentecost that we read about in the Book of Acts tie together provisions under the Old Covenants of God with provisions of God in the New Covenant. Just as Jesus Christ is our Passover and was offered for the forgiveness and remission of our sins (I Corinthians 5:7), so too is he our Pentecost, the one who baptizes us with the Holy Spirit. (Matthew 3:11). Someday, he will be our Feast of Tabernacles when he returns to gather all his children to himself at the final harvest at the end of this age.
Just as the Day of Pentecost in the Old Covenant was a day of celebration and praise for all to join, so too in the new covenant Day of Pentecost, all are included. Everyone can receive and rejoice. Of great significance in this regard is the fact that the languages that were spoken supernaturally on the Day of Pentecost included the languages of the gentiles, languages such as Arabic. (Acts 2: 9-11). No one is excluded from the new covenant Passover, Pentecost and Ingathering. The gospel is for the whole world.
Let us now look at seven events that took place on the Day of Pentecost when the church was born and in particular, let us note the significance of water baptism.