Thursday, June 16, 2011

Pentecost, Me, and You

So, this is a response to my friend Zach's query as to the meaning of Pentecost.  I was originally going to leave a comment, but since I recently (and by recently I mean 5 minutes ago) started a blog, I figured I would spend some time thinking through what Pentecost means in general, and what it means to me in particular.

If you would like to read the original post that started resulted in this...check out Zach's blog here.

What is Pentecost?

Briefly, Pentecost is the beginning of the Church.  Apart from Pentecost, we are not the church, and we are gathering together with no purpose and no message.  Because of Pentecost, we can gather together as the Spirit-empowered people of God, and we are given the ability as citizens of the Kingdom to worship our Lord in "spirit and in truth."  The hour the apostle John wrote about comes at Pentecost, and where we once saw a timid grouping of disenfranchised followers, we now see powerful preachers of the Gospel.  The Spirit coming at Pentecost allows for a number of things to happen -

  • The creation of the New Testament Church (Acts 2)
  • Our adoption as sons and daughters of God (Ephesians 1)
  • Producing the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5)
  • Blessing those who persecute us (Acts 7)
  • A de-emphasis on the importance of possessions (Acts 4)
  • Setting us free from the law of sin and death (Romans 8)
  • Provides us wisdom (1 Cor. 2)
  • Spiritual gifts (1 Cor. 12, Romans 12)

I could go on listing for some time, but I think that covers enough ground for now.  I may write an entry on each one I listed at some point...

Anyways, this doesn't quite answer the question Zach proposed - what does Pentecost mean to me?  So, now that we've noted some of the things Pentecost does, let's take a bit more of a subjective look at it.

What does Pentecost mean to me?

For me, Pentecost means several things -

First, is freedom.  Without the Spirit, Christ's work on the cross would never be applied.  Because the Spirit came, it has enabled me to be free to love selflessly, to be patient, to be joyful in failure and trials.  It has freed me from the bondage of an unsanctified will.  No longer must I live in slavery to the bondage of sin, God himself has indwelt me!  The struggles in this life against the flesh seem much less daunting knowing that the third person of the Trinity has indwelt me and is aiding me in fighting sin.  What a glorious and freeing thought to know that, because the Holy Spirit of God fell on the apostles, that same Spirit is within me fighting the sinful desires of the flesh!

Second, is a sense of belonging.  Because of the Spirit, I was adopted as a son of God.  Through this adoption, we are made citizens and co-heirs of the Kingdom with Christ.  Because the Spirit came, even in times of loneliness or despair I can recognize that because of the Spirit of the Lord, I am his son and an heir to His Kingdom.  This could be such an encouragement to so many believers, yet many never consider this - the Lord has made you his son, his daughter!  Because of Pentecost, I will always belong to a Father who will never pass away, will never cease to love, and never ceases to desire good for his children.  Even when my earthly father passes away, my heavenly Father will remain.

Third, I have a sense of great joy and affirmation in reality of the Gospel.  Seeing the work of the Spirit in myself and others within the Church bolsters my joy and affirms my belief.  Without Pentecost, possibly the greatest proof of the reality of the Gospel would never have come to pass - the Church.  Here, we see a place in which men and women from all walks of life can gather together and worship in unity despite socioeconomic differences, racial differences, and cultural differences.  If your church doesn't look like this, pray that like at Pentecost, the Spirit would move in your church to make it a community united by its diversity.

I may write more on this as I continue to ponder on it.  I guess I leave a similar question to you to ponder - what does Pentecost mean to you?


  1. Good stuff, man.

    Glad to see you started blogging. If you'll be sure to tweet your updates I'll always stop by and read/comment (many blogging platforms have some sort of auto-posting functionality built in). Blogging is a tough thing to get into the habit if doing, mostly because it's difficult to think of something to write about. You should be well-equipped with topics while in seminary.

    BTW, you can see my followup @

  2. To me, the full meaning of Pentecost helps answer some of the deepest mysteries of religion and life. As explained in the article, The Secret Meaning of Pentecost, it represents much more than the gift of the Holy Spirit. By connecting the New Testament Pentecost with the Old Testament Feast of Weeks, which is based on the first fruits early harvest, Pentecost helps us understand why so few people in the history of mankind have had a chance to hear gospel and be saved and why God allows so much suffering and injustice in this life.