Here in the Netherlands, it is a holiday weekend – Pinkster to use the Dutch word….
What’s that about?
Well for many it has no real meaning probably besides an extra day off…..
Pentecost is actually a Greek based word meaning ‘fifty’. It is a Jewish Festival called the Feast of Weeks and it marked the end of the grain harvest, fifty days after the start of Passover (for anyone reading and not familiar with the stories of the Old Testament – think Moses, people of Israel coming out of Egypt – see Exodus 12)
So the people would celebrate and express gratitude to God for the harvest provision.
Yet nowadays, Christians do not celebrate this at Pentecost. Rather based on an account in the New Testament (Acts 2), they focus on the pouring out of the Holy Spirit….
What’s that about?
Well nothing spooky… this is not some kind of weird idea out of some kind of fantasy tale. This is not something akin to the ‘force’ that Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader and others from Star Wars fame would use.
No, this is God’s presence himself coming to people. Poured out first in Jerusalem on the Festival of Weeks, sometime during the fourth decade of the 1st century AD.
Pause and think for a moment…..
Try reading a book and watching a movie at the same time – not really possible. Try being on the phone with someone and typing an email about something else at the same time. I expect the person on the phone will not have your full attention. It is not really possible to be at two places at once!
Jesus when on planet earth was not just fully human but also fully God. Yet even though fully God, as fully human he too could only be in one place at once.
Christ gave his life on the cross to deal with the wrongdoing of humanity. He didn’t stay dead though – He is alive. But nor did He stay on planet Earth and instead returned to heaven (no, I don’t know exactly where that is in terms of GPS co-ordinates).
Before leaving his followers, he taught them many things. On one occasion he said, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you and you shall be my witnesses…” (Acts 1:8)
Faith in Christ is more than just assenting to certain statements of belief. Truly being a Christian is something far more than some vague kind of cultural heritage. Such faith is active and a gift from the Lord. Such faith it also impossible to really effectively walk out without His help.
That is why His Holy Spirit was poured out and is still available to all those who are seeking to follow Him. He is described as the Spirit of truth, Counsellor, the one who convicts, the one who helps people to be more like Christ and the one who empowers – to name just a few aspects of who He is.
Do we know the Holy Spirit at work in our lives?
Enjoy the holiday weekend