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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Pentecost


Acts 2:1-13 NIV

The Holy Spirit Comes at Pentecost

1 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tonguesa as the Spirit enabled them.

5Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 6When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. 7Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? 8Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? 9Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,b 10Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11(both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” 

12Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?”
13Some, however, made fun of them and said, “They have had too much wine.”

Peter Addresses the Crowd

14Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. 15 These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! 

16 No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:

17“ ‘In the last days, God says,
I will pour out My Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your young men will see visions,
your old men will dream dreams.
18Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out My Spirit in those days,
and they will prophesy.
19I will show wonders in the heavens above
and signs on the earth below,
blood and fire and billows of smoke.
20The sun will be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood
before the coming of the Great and Glorious Day of the Lord.
21And everyone who calls
on the Name of the Lord will be saved.’c

22“Fellow Israelites, listen to this:
Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through Him, as you yourselves know. 23This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate Plan and Foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men,d put Him to death by nailing Him to the cross. 24But God raised Him from the dead, freeing Him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on Him. 
25David said about Him:

“ ‘I saw the Lord always before me.
Because He is at my right hand,
I will not be shaken.
26Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest in hope,
27because you will not abandon Me to the realm of the dead,
you will not let your Holy One see decay.
28You have made known to me the paths of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence.’e

29“Fellow Israelites, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. 30But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that He would place one of his descendants on his throne. 31Seeing what was to come, he spoke of the Resurrection of the Messiah, that He was not abandoned to the realm of the dead, nor did His body see decay. 32God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it. 33Exalted to the Right hand of God, He has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. 34For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said,

“ ‘The Lord said to my Lord:
“Sit at My right hand
35until I make Your enemies
a footstool for Your feet.” ’f

36 “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.”
37When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles,
“Brothers, what shall we do?”
38Peter replied,

“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.  39The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”

40With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” 41Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.


Pentecost


Pentecost ( Greek: Πεντηκοστή [ἡμέρα], Pentēkostē [hēmera], "the Fiftieth [day]") is a prominent feast in the calendar of ancient Israel celebrating the giving of the Law on Sinai.

Pentecost is the Jewish harvest festival, or Festival of Weeks (Hebrew חג השבועות Hag haShavuot , literally "Festival of Weeks"), which can be found in the Hebrew Bible, Shavuot is called the Festival of Weeks (Exodus 34:22, Deuteronomy 16:10 ); Festival of Reaping (Hebrew: חג הקציר, chag ha-Katsir, Exodus 23:16 ), and Day of the First Fruits (Hebrew יום הביכורים, Yom ha-Bikkurim, Numbers 28:26 ).

Later, in the Christian liturgical year, it is also a feast commemorating the Descent of the Holy Spirit upon the twelve Apostles of Christ.

After His Resurrection Jesus told the disciples to wait in Jerusalem for the Father’s gift of the Holy Spirit, from whom they would receive power to be His witnesses to the ends of the earth. Jesus had promised the disciples that He would be going away and He will not leave them orphans.  He will send to them an Advocate who will make them know of the Father and of Jesus. 

John19:15-21NIV

15“If you love Me, keep My commands. 16And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17the Spirit of Truth. The world cannot accept Him, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But you know Him, for he lives with you and will bec in you. 18I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19Before long, the world will not see Me anymore, but you will see Me. Because I live, you also will live. 20On that day you will realize that I am in My Father, and you are in Me, and I am in you. 21Whoever has My commands and keeps them is the one who loves Me. The one who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I too will love them and show Myself to them.”

He will also open them to the errors of the world so they follow the right path. After his ascension to heaven, the men returned to Jerusalem and joined together in prayer in an upper room. On the Day of Pentecost, just as Jesus had promised they received the Spirit. It came in the form of a violent wind that filled the house and the tongues of fire came to rest on each of them.  Being filled with the Holy Spirit, they were given the power of preaching and healing and they spoke in tongues. Thus having received the Holy Spirit, the disciples went out and preached the message of Jesus. 

This was the beginning of the Church.

Pentecost means fiftieth day. It was the second of three great Jewish Feasts. For the Jews it was a day of gratitude. It was a day of thanksgiving for the completion of the harvest.  However, on this day fiftieth day after the resurrection a great transformation took place in the small group of disciples. They were persons perplexed, scared, dumbfounded and disappointed, that kept them closeted in a little upper room.  Rightly, we are not told where that room was situated.  We only know that room was in a house in Jerusalem and people had come to Jerusalem from every nation to express their harvest gratitude.

They spoke different languages; they came with different intentions; they had different motives.  It is this motley group who witnessed a sound that made them assemble together. To their astonishment, some Galilean spoke to them in their own native language. To their surprise, some unheard of illiterates spoke the language they understood so well. We all know how difficult it is to learn another language. Yet we are told that these disciples spoke and people, coming from various nations, understood them. It is the hearers and not the speakers who make this claim!  This was the novel experience of the new harvest, Pentecost!  Indeed as St Paul tells us that no one can say, “Jesus is Lord” unless he is under the influence of the Holy Spirit.

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