June 1st – The First Christian Pentecost

The feast of Pentecost is a Jewish festival. In the Old Testament the offering of a barley sheaf during the days of unleavened bread began the reaping season. This reaping time lasted for forty-nine days, or ‘a week of weeks’. On the 50th day (and that’s what the Greek word ‘Pentecost’ literally means) a festival was held, akin to a massive harvest festival. ‘All was safely gathered in’, because the wheat harvest is the last grain to ripen in Israel. Rooted in antiquity, this natural festival became a great religious celebration when Jews gathered from all over the world. ‘Come ye thankful people, come’, and they came.
Fifty days after that first Easter morning, with the City of Jerusalem packed with visitors up for the festival, something happened which transformed the face of the world. This Pentecost was different. Instead of a harvest of the land, the harvest of the Spirit began.
Picture the scene: near the top of Mount Zion, at the home of John Mark’s parents, in that same upper room, the infant church, just over one hundred people, was at prayer. When the Spirit came on them they streamed out down the maze of narrow streets towards the one great open space always available, the Temple Courts. As they went they talked excitedly to all the people, who were mostly on their way to the Temple; Jews from every land, all with different languages, and the early church found language no barrier. Breathlessly, they gathered in the Temple Courts, thousands of them, and it was so extraordinary that some folks said ‘They’re all drunk’. But Peter stood and addressed the crowd, and soon put that misconception right. Luke describes the beginning of that memorable day:
When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. Acts 2:1-4

A Prayer:
Lord God, whose breath is as the oxygen of all life, and whose holiness is as pure fire, come upon your church afresh like a strong driving wind to inspire and ignite with love and passion, to see a lost world saved.

Now read the rest of Acts, Chapter 2, and be equipped by Peter’s sermon and the power of the Spirit.

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Never doubt in the dark what God told you in the light. (VR Edman)

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