What is Pentecost Sunday?
Pentecost Sunday is a commemoration and celebration of the receiving of the Holy Spirit by the early church. John the Baptist prophesied of the first Pentecost when Jesus would baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire (Matthew 3:11). Jesus confirmed this prophecy with the promise of the Holy Spirit to the disciples in John 14:26. He showed Himself to these men after His death on the cross and His resurrection, giving convincing proofs that He was alive. Jesus told the disciples to wait in Jerusalem for the Father’s gift of the Holy Spirit, from whom they would receive power to be His witnesses to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:3-8). After Jesus’ ascension to heaven, the men returned to Jerusalem and joined together in prayer in an upper room. On the Day of Pentecost, just as promised, the sound of a violent wind filled the house and tongues of fire came to rest on each of them and all were filled with the Holy Spirit. They were given the power of communication, which Peter used to begin the ministry for which Jesus had prepared him. After the coming of the Holy Spirit, the disciples did not stay in the room basking in God’s glory but burst out to tell the world. This was the beginning of the church as we know it.
Today, in many Christian churches, Pentecost Sunday is celebrated to recognize the gift of the Holy Spirit, realizing that God’s very life, breath and energy live in believers. During this service, John 20:19-23 may be the core of the message about our risen Savior supernaturally appearing to the fear-laden disciples. Their fear gave way to joy when the Lord showed them His hands and side. He assured them peace and repeated the command given in Matthew 28:19-20, saying, “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” Then He breathed on them, and they received the Holy Spirit (John 20:21-23).
The celebration of Pentecost Sunday reminds us of the reality that we all have the unifying Spirit that was poured out upon the first-century church in Acts 2:1-4. It is a reminder that we are co-heirs with Christ, to suffer with Him that we may also be glorified with Him; that the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good (1 Corinthians 12:7); that we are all baptized by one Spirit into one body (1 Corinthians 12:13); and that the Spirit which raised Jesus from the dead lives inside believers (Romans 8:9-11). This gift of the Holy Spirit that was promised and given to all believers on the first Pentecost is promised for you and your children and for all who are far off whom the Lord our God will call (Acts 2:39).
Today is Pentecost Sunday, which is 50 days after Easter. We celebrate the power of the Spirit empowering us to reach the world with the gospel. An article by the Christian Post lists the following 10 things we should know about today:
- Pentecost marks the day when the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles.
- Pentecost occurs 50 days after Easter.
- The Bible records the Pentecost in Acts 2:1-13.
- It comes 10 days after the Ascension of Jesus.
- It is also known as “the birthday of the Church”.
- Pentecost fulfills Jesus’ promise to send the Counselor and Spirit of Truth (John 16:5-15).
- Pentecost launches the large-scale spreading of the gospel after Jesus’ ascension. Acts 2:41 records that 3,000 people were baptized after receiving the Holy Spirit,
- The Pentecostal movement derives its name from the event in Acts 2.
- Jews also celebrate Pentecost, but not for the same reason as Christians. The celebration by Jews of Pentecost is to observe God giving the Ten Commandments 50 days after the Exodus (Passover).
- The color for Pentecost is red, after the flames described in Acts 2.
May you experience the power of the Holy Spirit in your life today!