This past week I spent some time studying Pentecost (Acts 2) for a class I’m co-teaching entitled “The Story of the Church,” where we’ll be exploring Church History in order to better understand ourselves and how we should live today. Since we’re looking at Church History, it only seemed appropriate to start the class off with Pentecost: the day the Church was born.
What is Pentecost?
Pentecost occurs 50 days after the second day of Passover (see here for a more detailed explanation). Pentecost is primarily a day to celebrate Moses receiving the Law/Torah from God on Mt. Sinai (Exodus 19:16-20). As I read that and re-read Acts 2:1-4, the parallels between Sinai and Pentecost became abundantly clear:
- Fire – “The LORD descended on it (Mt. Sinai) in fire.” On Pentecost, tongues of fire descended and came to rest on top of each believer’s head.
- Wind – Ex. 19:16 describes a great storm surrounding Sinai, a thick cloud covers the mountain and a trumpet blast is heard – I don’t think it’s reading between the lines too much to take this as a reference to a wind storm that’s so loud it sounds like trumpets. On Pentecost a violent blowing wind fills the entire house where the believers are gathered.
- Language – God wrote the Law on the tablets for Moses to deliver to Israel. The Holy Spirit empowered the disciples to speak the Gospel to people in their own native language (even though the disciples didn’t actually “know” the language).
The coming of the Holy Spirit made each Christian a living, walking, talking, breathing Mount Sinai! Amazing, simply amazing. Think about that! You have the gift of the Holy Spirit active and at work IN YOU!
Look at Jesus’ words in John 14:12-18. Jesus actually says that it’s BETTER FOR US that he goes away so that the Holy Spirit would come! In verse 17 he says this about the Holy Spirit, “But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.” Don’t miss this – Jesus says the Holy Spirit is with them (present tense), but that he will be in them (future tense).
Teenager, Parent, Adult, whoever you are – don’t neglect the Holy Spirit. Don’t live as if you need to live the Christian life on your own (as if that’s actually possible – it isn’t!). Don’t live as if it is your responsibility to convert the world and turn others to Christ to receive salvation – do your part and be obedient in evangelism and the Great Commission, but recognize that you need to be guided by the Holy Spirit and trust Him to do the convicting and saving through your words and actions.
Pentecost makes you Mount Sinai… and yet, it makes you so much more – because no one was ever saved by perfectly obeying the Law, but only through the Gospel of Jesus Christ which the Holy Spirit proclaims.