Pentecost was the day the Holy Spirit was poured out for the first time on the disciples of Jesus, according to the biblical account in the book of Acts. Before that, Pentecost was a Jewish festival instituted by God to celebrate the harvest. That party was celebrated 50 days after Easter Sunday. Pentecost means “fiftieth.”
The party began when the people of Israel were about to leave Egypt. The night of their departure, God told them that they should celebrate Passover (which means passage in Hebrew). They had to mark their doors with the blood of a lamb. Thus, when the angel saw the blood in the framework of his portals, he would continue on his way, sparing the lives of the firstborn of the Hebrews.
This was the first Passover of the children of Israel. God commanded that this festival be repeated annually, remembering the departure and liberation of Israel from slavery in Egypt.
Fifty days after the exodus, the Israelites arrived at Mount Sinai. There, God gave them the Law through Moses and commanded them to observe its commandments. He also commanded them to celebrate that day annually (Exodus 23:16). This was the first day of Pentecost and should be remembered as the day of the giving of God’s law.
The Christian Easter was born with the resurrection of Christ, the Lamb of God, who frees us from the slavery of sin. Fifty days after the resurrection of Jesus, it was the day of Pentecost. The Holy Spirit came according to the promise of Christ and gave us a new law. It is no longer a law written on stone tablets but on human hearts. That is what we Christians today celebrate on Pentecost.
The wonderful gift of the Holy Spirit
The descent of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, whose narrative we find in Acts 2, confirmed the reality of God’s presence, power, and fellowship with his people. Jesus promised to be with those who believe in him every day until the end of the world. This happens through the person of the Holy Spirit.
Fifty days after the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Spirit of God came to dwell in believers:
When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all gathered in one place. And suddenly there came a noise from heaven, as of a violent wind blowing, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared, divided among them, tongues like fire, and they settled on each one of them. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different languages, as the Spirit gave them to speak.
What Jesus had said would happen happened. The Holy Spirit filled the disciples with him and enabled them to do God’s work. Still, today, all who have put their faith in Jesus receive the Holy Spirit and are empowered with his power to spread the good news of salvation.
And I will ask the Father and he will give you another Comforter to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive because it does not see or know him. You know it, because it remains with you and is in you. (John 14:16-17)
But when the Comforter comes, the Spirit of truth that I will send you from the Father, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness to me. (John 15:26).
How was the arrival of the Holy Spirit?
According to the account in Acts 2, it was a very significant moment that marked the birth of the Lord’s Church in a powerful way. They were all together celebrating the beginning of the harvest festival. However, God had a much greater harvest in mind, one in which all believers in the Lord Jesus Christ participate.
The first Christians were reunited, united in the same feeling. The Holy Spirit descended with a violent wind that filled the place where they were. On them tongues of fire rested, and when they were filled with the Holy Spirit, they began to speak in different languages, as the Spirit gave them.
Outside the place where they were, there was a large crowd of people who had come to Jerusalem to celebrate the festival. There were people from many different nations, but they listened to the disciples and all who were gathered there, speaking in their native languages. They all heard about the great acts of God (Acts 2:11) and could understand them!
The Holy Spirit filled Peter with boldness! Peter stood up with the disciples and proclaimed the message of salvation in Jesus out loud. He explained to them that what they were seeing and hearing had been prophesied by the prophet Joel long before. He told them about Jesus and his ministry, the meaning of his death and resurrection. He called them to repent of their sins and to receive Jesus as Lord and Savior.
Which it was the result? Some three thousand people surrendered to the power of the message of Jesus Christ and the church began its growth and spread throughout all the nations of the world.
And with many other words he testified and exhorted them saying: Be saved from this perverse generation!
So those who received the word from him were baptized, and there were added on that day about three thousand people. And they persevered in the apostles’ doctrine, in fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.
The meaning of the Day of Pentecost
The Day of Pentecost influenced all of history. On that day, the Holy Spirit transformed the lives of those people in the first century, and also marked the beginning of the Christian Church. Thousands of Jews understood the revelation given by the arrival of the Spirit of the Lord. They took that message to their families, to their towns and nations, spreading the kingdom of God everywhere.
God granted his perfect law, through the Word that became flesh – Jesus Christ – and confirmed his presence, through the person of the Holy Spirit. The promise of the gift of the Spirit, made to all whom the Lord calls, came true.
Peter told them: Repent and be baptized each of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Because the promise is for you, for your children and for all those who are far away, for all those whom the Lord our God calls.
God longs for everyone to know him and receive salvation through Jesus and the promised gift of the Holy Spirit. Do not delay in opening your heart.