Reflections on the Feast of Pentecost
Rene Messier (Canada)
As we will celebrate the festival of Pentecost at the end of this month, it would be a good idea to reflect on just what this festival represents where the church is concerned and also our individual lives.
Historically, this Festival was the beginning of the establishment of God’s true church in 31 A.D., when the Holy Spirit was given for the first time in a general manner to those assembled in Jerusalem for the festival. In Old Testament times, the prophets and some faithful servants had been given the Holy Spirit to carry out God’s plan and purpose in their time, but it was not generally available for entire groups of people until the Feast of Pentecost in 31 A.D. (Acts 2:1-4).
For the approximately one hundred and twenty disciples there at the time, they had witnessed Christ’s miracles, signs and wonders and His death, and many had also been witnesses of His resurrection. They had been or were now committed to being faithful and to what Christ had taught in His messages for the previous three and a-half years.
The others were moved by Peter’s inspired sermon after the Holy Spirit had been bestowed on the 120 disciples, and they wanted to know what was required of them to receive this gift. In Act 2:37, we read: “Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, ‘Men and brethren, what shall we do?’”
Peter gave them the answer in verses 38-39: “Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.’”
Notice the opportunity to even qualify for this precious gift comes from God who calls us and grants us repentance and a heart willing to accept Christ as our Savior.
The common denominator in the human family is the blood. That is the thread that all races share and one can die physically from loss of blood. The common thread for true Christians is God’s Holy Spirit which emanates from God and sets us apart as His children. It gives us the potential to enter the God Family as God beings at the return of His Son Jesus Christ, if we faithfully endure to the end.
One of the key components to this goal is obedience, since God gives His Spirit only to those who obey Him. Conversely, He withholds it from those who willingly disobey Him. In Act 5:32, Peter said: “And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit [which] God has given to those who obey Him.”
As one can get sick for not taking care of himself physically, even to the point of death, so one can quench the precious gift of the Holy Spirit if one neglects the tools given him to maintain the Spirit, and even lose it to the point of committing the unpardonable sin and dying the eternal death.
We have to appreciate this very precious gift from God and stay true to the course by remaining spiritually healthy, as it were. Pentecost was the starting point for the beginning of God’s Church. Baptism and the receipt of the Holy Spirit is the starting point for our walk with God. At the end of this walk, we want to ensure we are in good shape spiritually for the challenges we will face as children of God in the Millennium as kings and priests.
When the people, after listening to Peter, cried out, “What shall we do,” they were told by Peter what was required of them. We need to make sure we are doing the things required of us to fulfill our future role of ruling with Christ in the Millennium and then for all eternity.