Roots of Pentecost
By Pastor Tim Klassen
Last weekend was Pentecost Sunday. Pentecost is not a day widely known or celebrated in our Canadian Culture, and yet in the Church, it is a big deal! Even within the church, however, most followers of Jesus are not familiar with the roots of Pentecost. When Luke writes “when the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place” (Acts 2:1) most readers think that the day of Pentecost was referring to what was about to happen as the Holy Spirit entered the room. Those 120 followers of Jesus, however, knew something that many of us have never learned: Pentecost was not a new celebration! Pentecost was an annual celebration of God’s people ever since the 10 commandments. It was a celebration of the giving of the law on Pentecost, 50 days after Passover. Leviticus 23 refers to it as the Feast of Weeks, since it was celebrated on the day following 7 full weeks (or 50 days) after Passover. That is Pentecost! The word Pentecost is Greek for ‘50.’
I want to parallel for us these two events: Moses meeting with the Lord on Mount Sinai (Exodus 19) and the disciples meeting with the Holy Spirit in the Upper Room (Acts 1-2); for it was on Mount Sinai that Pentecost truly began.
On the first Pentecost, Moses went up the mountain (Exodus 19:20).
On the second Pentecost, the disciples went to the Upper Room (Acts 1:13).
On the first Pentecost, God came down to Moses (Exodus 19:20).
On the second Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came down to the disciples (Acts 2:2-4).
On the first Pentecost, the mountain was wrapped in smoke; the Lord descended in fire and the whole mountain trembled (Exodus 19:18).
On the second Pentecost, there was a sound like a mighty rushing wind; tongues of fire appeared on them and they spoke supernaturally in languages they had not previously known (Acts 2:2-4).
On the first Pentecost, God came down to give His Word (Exodus 20).
On the second Pentecost, God came down to give His Spirit (Acts 2:4).
On the first Pentecost, 3,000 people died because of their sin (Exodus 32:28).
On the second Pentecost, 3,000 people received spiritual life through salvation (Acts 2:41).
The parallel’s between these two monumental days in the history of the Christian faith are so striking they cannot be ignored. So now, when you read Luke write in Acts 2:1, “When the day of Pentecost arrived” you can read it with a new appreciation of the reality that God pays attention to every detail. And if He paid attention to every detail from the first Pentecost to the second Pentecost — and He is the same good God over us and our lives — then He must also pay such close attention to us and our every need, desire or struggle. May I encourage you on the heels of Pentecost to look up to your creator and your God, who cares for you more than you could ever comprehend.
May His Spirit richly rest upon you today and every day that is before you.
See it for yourself in the Welland Tribune