What is Pentecost?

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What is Pentecost?
In the church calendar this Sunday is traditionally called Pentecost Sunday and celebrates the moment, 10 days after Jesus’ ascension and 50 days after his resurrection when the Holy Spirit descended and became a reality not just for a few people (as has always been the case in the Old Testament) but for everyone who trusts Jesus.  The Ascension is about Jesus leaving earth and returning to heaven as King.  Pentecost is about Jesus sending his Spirit from heaven to earth to make the church his people.
What’s in a name?
The English word “Pentecost” is a transliteration of the Greek word pentekostos, which means “fifty.” It comes from the ancient Christian expression pentekoste hemera, which means “fiftieth day.”  It relates directly to the events, recorded in Acts 2, being 50 days after Jesus’ resurrection.  This also coincided with an important Jewish festival called weekes which also occurred 50 days after another Jewish festival Passover.  The crowds in Jerusalem when Jesus died and resurrected where there to celebrate the Passover.  The crowds that gathered and saw and experienced Pentecost where there to celebrate Weekes.
The Festival of Weeks (Shavuot in Hebrew) comes from an expression in Leviticus 23:16, which instructs people to count seven weeks or “fifty days” from the end of Passover to the beginning of the next holiday.
What does it mean for us?
In the Old Testament the Spirit of God was only temporarily experienced and only by a few – often leaders, kings or priests and only for a limited period.  It was only experienced by people from Israel.  With Pentecost the self-restraints of the Spirit are lifted and he becomes available and accessible to everyone as and who believes in Jesus.  It is a direct fulfilment of what God promised in Joel 2:28-32: that he would ‘pour out my Spirit on all people’.
God’s promised Spirit opens our months to tell others about Jesus:
‘All of them where filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak…’ (Acts 2:4)
God’s promised Spirit opens our ears to hear about Jesus:
’…each one heard their own language being spoken…’  (Acts 2:6)
God’s Spirit opens our minds to explain and understand about Jesus.

‘Then Peter stood up…let me explain this to you…’  (Acts 2:14)

God’s Spirit opens our hearts to respond to Jesus:
‘When the people heard this they were cut to the heart…’  (Acts 2:37)
God’s Spirit opens our lives to love like Jesus:
‘They devoted themselves to the apostle’s teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and prayer…all the believers where together and had everything in common.’  (Acts 2:42, 44)
God’s Spirit opens our joy to praise Jesus:
‘…together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God…’  (Acts 2:46-47)
God’s Spirit opens our church to everyone in Jesus:

‘And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.’  (Acts 2:47)

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