The Feast of Pentecost
by Pastor Steven Borst
“Search me God, know my heart” ~PSALM 139:23
This year we are having a special Combined Worship Service to celebrate Pentecost. On May 20, there will be one service at 10:30am that will include both classical and contemporary music. The service will highlight some of the new music that we’ve learned during our Heart Psalms Series, and we will examine our final Heart Psalm, 139. Do you know that the Feast of Pentecost was celebrated long before the Holy Spirit appeared with tongues of fire in Jerusalem? In the Old Testament, “Shavuot” took place 50 days after Passover. This was a “first fruits” festival, when Jews would journey to the temple in Jerusalem to offer a thank offering from their early yield of grain. In Jesus’ time, many Greek-speaking Jews would arrive in Jerusalem for this festival. Because they spoke Greek, they referred to it as “Pentecost”, meaning “50 Days.” On that first Christian Pentecost, as the disciples were waiting on the Holy Spirit to come, the city was crowded with Jews visiting from all over the Mediterranean and Middle East. It makes sense, then, that one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit was the ability to speak in foreign languages. As the disciples proclaimed the Gospel, the Jerusalem pilgrims heard the good news of Jesus in their own native tongue!
It also makes sense that the Holy Spirit waited for the festival of Pentecost to give birth to the New Testament Church. At that moment, the “first fruits” of the Spirit were being given to the Apostles. Even now, when we talk about the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, we talk about the Spirit producing fruit in us.
“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
So it is that on Pentecost we celebrate the Holy Spirit’s presence in our lives through baptism. He has taken up residence in our hearts and it is He who creates and sustains our faith. This is indeed a reason to rejoice! How will we respond to such a gift? Perhaps we can take our cue from God’s Old Testament people. It is fitting that we offer our Heavenly Father a thank offer-ing from the “first fruits” that the Holy Spirit has created in us. We honor God by being people of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.