The Meaning of Pentecost
Jesus said, “I am sending another comforter, a helper.” He was talking about the Holy Spirit, who is our friend, our strength, our peace, and who purifies our hearts. Today, there is a lot of confusion about The Holy Spirit, but He was very present in the New Testament. If we understood who the Holy Spirit really is, we would not be running from Him, but to Him.
Today, I want to tackle the word Pentecost. This word describes a day in The Bible. It means 50, because it happened 50 days after Passover.
When the Holy Spirit was poured out on the early church, there were only 120 people present. Jesus came, lived 33 years, died and rose again, then spent 40 days with his disciples before ascending into Heaven. Ten days after Jesus ascended, the day of Pentecost came, and the Holy Spirit was poured out on the church.
Pentecost is a holiday in the Jewish calendar. It is one of three major Jewish holidays, or feasts. Each of these had unique characteristics. In Matthew 5:17, Jesus says, “… I did not come to abolish the Law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose.”
Each Jewish feast has a fulfillment in the New Testament with the coming of Jesus Christ.
We can see Jesus’ plan for our lives in these 3 holidays. Let’s look at the journey that Jesus wants to take us on.
This was when the nation of Israel came out of Egypt, after years in slavery. Pharaoh did not want to let God’s people go, so God sent 10 plagues. The final plague told that the first born of every family in the nation would die. To keep Hebrew sons safe, God told them to put lamb’s blood on their doors, and promised to Passover those homes when He saw the blood.
When Israel was finally freed, they celebrated with a Passover feast. The lamb was sacrificed at 9 am, and cooked at 3 pm. This would remind everyone of the sacrifice that covered their sins. Jesus came to fulfill this holiday. He died at 9 am, and was put in the tomb at 3 pm. But Jesus’ sacrifice doesn’t cover our sins—it removes them. They are gone forever. Passover represents our salvation. See 1 Corinthians 5:7.
During Pentecost, Israel celebrated the giving of the law on Mount Sinai.
When they left Egypt, the presence of God was with them. A cloud descended with noise and fire, God wrote His laws on stone tablets, and 3,000 died out of disobedience.
In the New Testament, when the Holy Spirit descended, there was also noise and fire. God wrote His law on our hearts, and 3,000 were saved. See Acts 1:3-5.
The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is not for salvation, but for us to receive God’s power. It is for us to be His witnesses. Pentecost is the power to make a difference, but the enemy has made it very intimidating and misunderstood. Without Pentecost, we would not be able to do the job God has assigned us to do.
This holiday happened in the fall, around harvest time. Its purpose was for Israel to remember their wandering in the desert for 40 years. There was a period of time when God’s people were not yet in permanent homes. They lived in temporary tents until they finally reached the Promise Land.
How are we fulfilling this feast today? Earth is our temporary home. Our final home is in Heaven. When we get there, we will have a great final harvest of people, and lots will be saved.
There are 3 major things we ought to know about our life as believers:
It all begins with Passover, and with the Cross. Salvation is free. If you give your life to Jesus, you will be saved. Once you are saved, God has an assignment for you that is too big to accomplish alone. You need power to pull it off.
Baptism of the Holy Spirit.
This is a Pentecost experience that we have for the sake of mission and making a difference.
We will be with Jesus.
Jesus is coming back and we’ll spend the rest of our lives with Him in Heaven.
God wants to empower us in three areas:
To live righteously.
Pentecost was about us receiving the law. We are now becoming the law. The 10 Commandments are becoming part of who we are. See Romans 8:9.
To live supernaturally.
We were never intended to live our life naturally. The Holy Spirit is in us so we can heal people, perform signs and wonders, and experience miracles. God still heals people today. He still performs miracles. This is why God wants every believer to have the Holy Spirit.
To live on mission.
We are called by God to touch our city, our nation, the world. We are Jesus’ Church; we exist for others. We are here to make a difference, to bring light into our world. We need His power to pull it off.
Let’s continue to pursue all God has for us. We can’t do it without the power of the Holy Spirit.
“Being filled with the Holy Spirit does not make me better than you; it makes me better than me!”
This sermon was preached by Pastor Elio Marrocco on June 9, 2019 at New Life Christian Church