(Please read Acts chapter 2)
Pentecost – This word is derived from the Greek word Pentecoste, fiftieth, because the feast of Pentecost was celebrated the fiftieth day after the sixteenth of Nisan, which was the second day of the feast of the passover. The Hebrews call it the Feast of Weeks, Exodus 34:22, because it was kept seven weeks after the passover. It was the Jewish harvest-home. (From Cruden’s Complete Concordance)
God’s timing can make an interesting case study. We know from the Holy Scriptures that Christ was sent into the world “when the fullness of the time had come” (Galatians 4:4). Even in our daily lives we can see the wisdom of God’s timing in His answers to our prayers. Just before Jesus ascended into heaven, He commanded His disciples to remain in Jerusalem until the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, would be sent to them. The disciples didn’t have long to wait. A mere ten days later, on the feast of Pentecost, their heavenly Visitor arrived.
As mentioned earlier, Pentecost was a harvest festival. During the seven weeks between Passover and Pentecost, farmers progressed through the early barley harvest to the harvesting of wheat. The Pentecost celebration day was also called the day of first-fruits—the time when the people of Israel were to bring their first-fruits to the Lord. We could compare it to our Thanksgiving Festival or Harvest Day celebrations when we honor and thank our Heavenly Father for being the provider and preserver of all good things.
As the followers and disciples of Jesus were gathered together on this Pentecost Day, the sound of a powerful wind made its way through the city. The house where they were located seemed to be the focal point of this unusual phenomenon. The Holy Spirit made His presence known visibly by appearing as small tongues of fire over the heads of all present. The special gift which the Spirit brought for Jesus’ followers was their new ability to speak understandably in languages they had never studied.
For this festival faithful Jews and proselytes—gentile converts to Judaism—would have gathered in Jerusalem from all over the Roman world. In fact, Luke (who wrote the book of the Acts) mentions several diverse language groups that were represented in the crowd gathered near the disciples. This crowd was drawn to the place by the curious sound of a wind and greeted by the even more perplexing scene of uneducated “locals” speaking in tongues native to the foreigners!
The Lord was planning on doing some harvesting Himself. The people heard about the wonderful works of God. Of course, there were the usual detractors, doubters, and mockers, but the Lord had “grain” He wished to gather into His garner waiting in that crowd as well.
We rightly consider Pentecost as the birthday of the New Testament Church—as the time when God poured out His Holy Spirit on His children to embolden them to proclaim and defend His Word. We can also think of it as the beginning of the harvest. The Lord will have His great harvesting on the Last Day when all people will be gathered before Him. But before one can reap a harvest, one must plant
On Pentecost our heavenly Father was equipping us, His believing saints, with all we need to spread the gospel message of sins forgiven in the shed blood of Christ. We also have been emboldened by the Spirit who gives us the tools to plant, nurture, and cultivate His Holy Word.
Yes, it is true that only the Lord can give the increase to His Church, for He is the one who creates faith in the heart. But oh the joyous task He has given us–to be fellow laborers in His vineyard!