Today is the day of Pentecost on the church calendar. This comes 50 days after Easter. In some fellowships Pentecost is regarded highly. Parishoners wear red as a symbol of the flame of the Spirit and sanctuaries are decorated in red. Some even have fire in their baptismal fonts! Though I grew up hearing about the day of Pentecost in numerous expositions of Acts 2, I was unaware of these types of observances in my faith tradition.
Pentecost plays an important role in the history of God’s people. Joel chapter 2:28-32 contains the amazing prophecy that Peter quotes in Acts 2. I noticed on my bookshelf an old volume by James D. Bales entitled, “The Hub of the Bible.” It’s about Acts 2. There is a sense in which so many strands of teaching are gathered together in that chapter, wherein we read of the birth of the church. Everything that follows Acts 2 in your Bible relates to the life of this Family of God birthed in water and Spirit.
It is on Pentecost that Peter stood up and preached the first Gospel sermon. People were astonished to hear these Galilean fishermen speak in languages they couldn’t possibly know. More, what they were saying pointed to Jesus.
God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.
Following this first Gospel sermon the listeners asked the question we should all ask: What shall we do? Peter told those with broken hearts of penitent faith:
“Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” Acts 2:38
Now I know there are a lot of theological gymnastics performed to make this verse say something else … actually anything except what it says. But without centuries of erudite scholarship and hundreds of denominational conferences to interpret it for them, the clear simple truth of the gospel rang true. 3,000 people were immersed into Christ upon hearing of the salvation offered in Christ. What a day of great joy!
We have our own joyful Pentecost when we obey the gospel of Jesus in baptism. New life becomes ours through the Spirit that inhabits our hearts. More, we have the new privilege of bringing life and Spirit to others as we share the good news.
Pentecost is a meaningful day!
Thanks for reading, John.