Happy Birthday Christian Church!

Tongeus of Fire Falling on Early Christians.
Pentecost Sunday is considered the birthday of the the Christian Church.

These Men are Not Drunk as You Suppose. They Are Filled with the Fire of the Holy Spirit!

Today, May 31, 2020, is Pentecost Sunday. Pentecost means 50th in Greek. This holiday festival originated with the Jews and is celebrated 50 days after the Jewish Passover. The Jewish festival of Pentecost is called Shavuot in Hebrew. It is also known as the Feast of Weeks because it happens seven weeks plus a day after Passover. Jews who spoke Greek first called it Pentecost.

The day of Pentecost mentioned in the New Testament book of Acts happened 50 days after Jesus was crucified during the Jewish Passover holiday. The Day of Pentecost marks the birthday of the Christian church almost 2,000 years ago.  This day of Pentecost was when the Holy Spirit first came to the early believers and a large crowd of people became followers of Jesus Christ.

After Jesus was crucified and died, he rose from the dead. He appeared to his disciples and many others before he went back up into heaven. Jesus told them to wait in Jerusalem until they received the promised Holy Spirit. 

While they were waiting in an upper room, the Holy Spirit fell on 120 men and women. The Holy Spirit came to them and it looked like tongues of fire were resting on them. After these early followers of Christ received the Holy Spirit, they began to boldly proclaim the wonders of God and Jesus. They miraculously spoke in languages they did not learn.

3,000 people, who had gathered from around the world to celebrate the Pentecost holiday, heard the men and women who came out of the upper room speaking in tongues. This caused them to be amazed and perplexed. The crowd thought they had had too much to drink. All this is recorded in Acts 2:1-13.

Peter addressed the crowd during this the Day of Pentecost. Here are his words from Acts 2:14-21 (NIV):

14 Then 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.
18 Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
     and they will prophesy.
19 I will show wonders in the heavens above
     and signs on the earth below,
     blood and fire and billows of smoke.
20 The sun will be turned to darkness
     and the moon to blood
     before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.
21 And everyone who calls
     on the name of the Lord will be saved.’

Peter continued to preach about Jesus who was crucified and rose from the dead. When he paused, they asked him what they should do next. He told them to repent, be baptized in the name of Jesus and to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Acts 2:37-41:

37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”

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

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

The word about the resurrected Jesus and the good news of the forgiveness of sins was spread throughout the known world after this day of Pentecost. Many of those 3,000 people who became followers that day returned to their countries and continued to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ. This outpouring of the Holy Spirit jump-started the church. Every Christian today is part of their ongoing legacy.

Pentecost Sunday is when we celebrate the birth of the Christian Church. Happy birthday Christian Church!

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