Learn the significance of Pentecost as we explore the Holy Spirit, the church, the gifts of the Spirit, and the Great Commission.
The Day of Pentecost
50 days after Passover, the Jewish people celebrated Shavuot, also known as the Feast of Weeks, the Feast of Harvest and the Day of First Fruits.
In the New Testament, this celebration is referred to by its Greek name, Pentecost. Something miraculous happens on this day shortly after Jesus’ ascension into heaven.
Let’s review the events leading up to Pentecost:
SUNDAY: Jesus enters Jerusalem (Palm Sunday)
THURSDAY: Passover (The Last Supper)
FRIDAY: Crucifixion (Good Friday)
SUNDAY: Resurrection (Easter Sunday)
40 DAYS LATER: Ascension to heaven (The Great Commission)
50 DAYS AFTER PASSOVER: Pentecost (Holy Spirit arrives)
The Great Commission
Right before Jesus ascends into heaven after his resurrection, he gives instructions to his disciples known as “The Great Commission” which is fulfilled on the day of Pentecost shortly after:
The Promise of the Holy Spirit
During the speech he gives about the Great Commission, he also says these words in the book of John:
In the Old Testament, they celebrated the Feast of Harvest as a wheat harvest in accordance to God’s instructions.
In the book of Acts, Pentecost changes its name because that is when the Holy Spirit descends on the apostles and allows them to preach in every known language:
This launches a new era of God’s people–no longer just Jews, but Gentiles (non-Jews) are welcome. On this day of Pentecost, 3000 people were baptized and received the Holy Spirit.
Peter’s words for those who wanted access to the Holy Spirit were:
The Birth of the Church
The events at Pentecost mark the birth of the Christian church. The apostles Peter, John, and James become the new church leaders. From there, the 12 apostles (Judas is replaced by a man names Matthias) and other disciples go on to spread the message throughout the Roman Empire.
Here’s what the Bible says the very first church looked like:
The Gifts of the Spirit
What does it mean to “receive the Holy Spirit”? The Bible mentions various things that the Holy Spirit can help use with such as being out advocate to God, giving us wisdom and guidance. The most recognizable topics on the Holy Spirit are called “spiritual gifts”.
You find lists of spiritual gifts in the books of Romans, 1 Corinthians and Ephesians such as:
- Showing Mercy
- Miraculous powers
- Distinguishing between spirits
- Speaking in different kinds of tongues
- Interpretation of tongues
- Workers of miracles
Here are a few simple ideas to get you started on how you can use these gifts:
- Donate money to charity
- Volunteer somewhere
- Pray for sick and suffering
- Babysit for friend or neighbor
- Encourage someone going through a hard time
- Help clean for someone who is sick or elderly
- Bring someone a meal
- Host a get together to meet your neighbors
How Will You Celebrate Pentecost?
We now celebrate Pentecost as a celebration of the birth of the Christian church as modeled in Acts 2. It marks:
- The Fulfillment of the Promise of the Holy Spirit
- The Birth of the Christian Church
- A Starting Point for the Great Commission
- The Anointing of Spiritual Gifts
This year, we celebrate Pentecost on May 28, 2023. Many people wear red to symbolize the “tongues of fire” or choose this day to be baptized. You could also read Acts chapter 2, or spend time journaling a prayer for Holy Spirit wisdom and repentance. How will you celebrate Pentecost this year?
You Might Also Like…
I’ve created printable to help you make sense of the early church history in my Gospels + Church History Bundle, which cover the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and Acts.
Matthew-Acts: Gospels + Church History Bundle
For more posts on the New Testament teachings, check out:
- Discovering Your Personal Spiritual Gifts and Practical Ways to Use Them
- Who Wrote the Bible Book of Acts & What’s it About?
- Teach Your Kids the Fruit of the Spirit with this Printable Study
- What 1 & 2 Corinthians Says on Love, Spiritual Gifts and Generosity
- Printable Cheat Sheets for Your Galatians and Ephesians Bible Study
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