(Acts 2:1-13) – The Day of Pentecost
The word “Pentecost” means “fiftieth” and was celebrated 50 days after the sabbath preceding the feast of first fruits. The first day of feast of first fruits was also the day that Jesus rose from the dead (Easter).
So 50 days after Jesus rises from the dead, all Jewish males were in Jerusalem for one of the three holidays in which it was required to make the pilgrimage.
On Pentecost, the Jewish people were celebrating several things…the giving of the law to the people of Israel, the initial harvest feast, and the completion of their celebration of deliverance from slavery.
All of this has great significance related to the Person of Jesus. Leviticus (the book that outlines these feasts) is all about Jesus, and these feasts have a lot to teach us about Him and His work for us and through us.
It’s not an accident that God birthed the church on this day! Consider the symbolic significance of it all…
The giving of the law was the celebration of the beginning of the old covenant, while the birth of the church celebrated the beginning of the new covenant in the Holy Spirit. Both take place on Pentecost.
The harvest feast celebrated the firstfruits of the crops being gathered together. This is symbolic of the initial gathering of God’s people from many nations into one church body.
Two leavened loaves of bread were waved before the Lord on this day, symbolic of the fact that although we are redeemed people, we will still have sin in our lives until we reach glory.
Pentecost was a transition of spiritual seasons as well. It marked the ending of celebrating the people’s deliverance to living as delivered people. This is symbolic of the transition from living with Jesus on earth, being delivered from sin, to now living as delivered people with the mission of God.
Just as the people of Israel were equipped to live as God’s representatives on earth when they received the law of God, the church was equipped to live as God’s ambassadors on earth when they receive the Spirit of God.
The people of God were empowered by the Spirit of God to complete of mission of God for the glory of God.
You can see here in these verses that God has a heart for the nations. People from all over the world were gathered in Israel for this feast and God was ready to reach them and turn the world upside down.
The purpose of the miraculous gifts given to the Apostles in this chapter was to confirm the validity of their message. People from halfway around the world heard Galilean fisherman speaking their language, even though they had never studied it before.
For some people, these miraculous gifts drew them to listen to God’s message. But for others, it only hardened their hearts further and push themselves away from God and His message.
The same thing will happen to us as we serve.