Celebration gives followers courage to share good news

Published 8:55 am Friday, May 21, 2010

On Sunday, May 23, much of the Christian Church will celebrate its second oldest festival, The Festival of Pentecost, Using the timeline of the person who wrote the Gospel according to Luke and the Book of the Acts of the Apostles in the Christian New Testament, this event took place in Jerusalem 50 days following the first Easter, the day of Jesus’ resurrection. The disciples were gathered in Jerusalem on that day, as were countless other faithful Jews from throughout the empire. Pentecost for Jews was a harvest festival celebrated after Passover. It was a pilgrimage festival which meant that the faithful who were able to do so would go to Jerusalem and the Temple to celebrate. It was there, while those first followers were still fearful of the future that the Holy Spirit was poured out upon them and they became confident to proclaim the good news of God’s love and grace as revealed in Jesus the Christ.

This was the beginning of the public witness and ministry of Jesus first followers. Having waited as they had been instructed to do; now they were being prepared to act upon the gift of faith which they had been given. Gifted and empowered by the Spirit that blows when and where it wills, those first believers were now no longer hiding but boldly proclaiming to any and to all who would listen that God had acted in a new and decisive way through the life, death, and resurrection of the promised one. The purpose of the Spirit is revealed in their witness.

The Spirit’s role is always to point to the Savior. The Spirit never lays claim for itself but rather directs us to the truth that has been revealed in Jesus the Christ. Much of the Christian family has over time neglected the Spirit and its work. As a result it is often the least considered of the three persons of the Trinity. Though this practice may have seemed the least difficult of paths to follow it has lead to much confusion and misunderstanding in regards to the Spirit’s rightful purpose. Once again that purpose is truly singular in nature. The Spirit is to point to Jesus as the fulfillment, the clearest expression of God’s love and will for the sake of the whole creation.

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As this festival is celebrated it is not enough to simply wear red as many are encouraged to do. Rather the celebration of this festival is best revealed as again and again the followers of the Son are given courage and renewed faith to share the good news with the whole world. That’s what the first Christian Pentecost was about and it continues to be the same today.