It’s Pentecost Sunday. I promised myself several things about Pentecost this year and failed in every one of them. I don’t want to just blow off that fact, but I am reminded on this day, that I don’t live under the Law.
On the first Christian Pentecost, the disciples and Jews were gathered in Jerusalem to celebrate Pentecost—an ancient Jewish feast. It was a day when the people were to bring the first harvest to the temple. It was one of three major feasts.
The Jewish Pentecost was also celebrated because on that day, the Jews, via Moses, received the Law from God. Of course that turned out rather badly. Before God had fully written everything down with His finger amidst fire on the mountain and smoke and the rumblings of many voices, the people had broken every law that they had already promised to keep. (See Exodus 19-Exodus 24:12, Exodus 32.)Three thousand died that day.
The Church celebrates Pentecost because over 2,000 years ago, the Holy Spirit was poured out. You can read about it in Acts 1-2. God wrote His law upon hearts instead of stone tablets. The Law was no longer an external obedience but an internal one—accompanied with the forgiveness He guaranteed because of the cross. Instead of fire on a mountain, there were tongues of fire upon people’s heads. Instead of 3,000 dying, 3,000 were saved. Instead of God speaking from the mountain with fearful rumblings, God spoke in many voices using the tongues of humans to speak many different languages. It was a miracle!!
Christ had promised he would send the Spirit back to his followers. He even said that it was to our advantage that he leave so that he could send this Paraklete (Helper, Advocate, Comforter) to us.
On this day, the nature of the Church changed. Men and women became bold. The Holy Spirit turned trembling disciples into audacious, willing-to-die saints. They knew Christ had kept his promise and was with them. He had not left them as orphans.
Having the Holy Spirit within us is one of the greatest joys of being a Christian. Our faith is no longer a law-keeping, demanding, ritualistic religion. It is a vibrant relationship with the One living within us. He comes and breathes on us, and we are given new hearts of love and compassion and a strange desire to do God’s will. We often fail, but our longings change.
We read and understand His word. We want intimacy with Him. We want to see His kingdom come. We desire to forgive as we have been forgiven, and we are helped by this Paraklete along the way.
Through this Gift we are also reminded, that we are indeed forgiven and that Christ has risen. All Christ said and did was true. He came and died to wash away our sins and cleanse us so that we could be vessels of his Spirit. The Spirit coming was living proof. These men and women felt the difference.
Peter said on the Day of Pentecost: “This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses. Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear (Acts 2:32-33 NASB).”
Christ keeps his promises.
So my failures regarding this day are met with eternal, faithful forgiveness. My heart celebrates its union with a God who is merciful beyond my wildest imagination. God POURED out His grace upon us—first on the cross, then on the day of Pentecost—and every day since. Celebrate this sweet grace of God’s eternal presence with me! God is good.
Thank you, Father, for the gift of the Holy Spirit. To think that you constantly dwell with me and in me is a grace I can barely comprehend. Thank you for your mercy. I deserve all else but that.
I want to also thank you for the picture you gave in the Old Testament of what You were planning to do in the New Covenant. Thank you for Pentecost. I receive once again by faith the open expression of Your mercy and grace. Come Holy Spirit and revive our hearts. Remind us of your faithful presence and power within us. Help us to worship You and to love you and others.