The Story of the Pentecost
The Pentecost feast is coming up this week, so here the first post explaining the history, we will follow up with a post about the feast.
Pentecost was one of the great feasts of the Israelites. It was celebrated fifty days after Pessah in remembrance of the deliverance of the Ten Commandments on the Mountain of Sinai. Many Jews from all over the world came to Jerusalem at that time to honor the feast. They would come to pay their respects to the magnificent Temple of Solomon, their only temple at the time.
Among them here were Greeks, Parths, Medes and Elamites, residents of Mesopotamia, Cappadocia, Pontos, Asia, Phrygia, Pamphylia, Cyrene, Roman citizens, Cretes and Arabs, all talking different languages. Some of them were Jewish and some of them were proselytes.
The Apostles, the disciples and other followers of Jesus were gathered together to pray when the Holy Spirit descended upon them in the form of “cloven tongues of fire”, with the sound of a mighty rushing wind and they began to speak in languages they didn’t know (this account is detailed in the Acts of the Apostles, chapter 2).
Listening to the great clamor, people gathered around the Apostles, who valiantly started to preach about God’s splendor. Each and every person on that gathering was astonished to hear Jesus pupils speak in their own language. They had met them as illiterate fishermen from Galilee and now there they were, in front of them, speaking every language known to the world, like it was their own. No one could explain this alteration. Some of them were ecstatic, others mocked at them, saying the Apostles were drunk.
Apostle Peter came forth to talk to the dazzled crowd. He reminded them what God had said to Israelites through Prophet Joel: “on the last days…I shall generously grant my Spirit to every man. So, your sons and daughters shall preach the truth…” (Acts 2,14). Afterwards he spoke to them about Jesus and how God raised Him after they crucified Him. Finally he invited them to repent and to receive baptism in the name of Jesus, so that their sins would be forgiven and they would all receive the charismas of the Holy Spirit.
Three thousand people were joyously baptized that day. Those new faithful along with the Apostles and those who had earlier believed became the first Christian Church. So the first Church as Body of Christ was a fact! Since then the day of the Pentecost is celebrated as the birthday of Church. That day was about to change the course of the entire world. It reminds us the rich donations of the Holy Spirit – love, joy, peace, kindness and so much more – to all of us who believe and participate in the Christian way of life.
The Pentecost Celebration is coming!
Read our follow up post next: The Pentecost Celebration