Are you forgetful? There’s one interesting study posted Huffington Post. It discusses how millennials tend to be forgetful than seniors! We always thought that with age, we become more and more forgetful. However, due to the many distractions and stresses that technology brings upon the young people, they become more forgetful than seniors.
There’s no doubt: we are forgetful people. Whatever your age might be, we all need reminders, so we remember important things in our lives. That’s why every year, we celebrate the Day of Pentecost or also known as the Feast of Weeks.
The Feast of Pentecost is a day of memorial. For the Jews, it is called Shavuot, and it is the time when they bring in the first fruit of their harvest to the Temple. It reminds them that God is the ultimate source of their blessings. Not only that, but Shavuot also reminds them of giving the Torah in Mount Sinai and the time when they became a nation.
For us Christians, the Pentecost is also a day of memorial. It stands as a day for us to remember. We are commanded to keep it every year for us not to forget. But the question is, “What should we be reminded of? What does Pentecost remind us of?”
Undoubtedly, Pentecost is rich with symbolism, meaning, and significance for all of us who are followers of the Messiah. However, for the purpose of this blog, let me just share with you three reminders of the Feast of Pentecost.
(If you want to know more about the Feast of Pentecost and whether a Christian should celebrate it or not, here’s a link that you will find helpful.)
Reminder no. 1: The True Church endures until the end
It was believed that on the Day of Pentecost, in AD 31, God poured down His Holy Spirit to His people. It was this day that marked the beginning of the New Testament Church. Since then, the followers of Christ have been persecuted, punished, tortured, and even killed for their belief.
Today, nothing has changed. Christianity is still the MOST persecuted religion throughout the recent history. One study estimates that in 2016 alone, there were 90,000 Christians who were killed which is equivalent to 1 Christian killed in every six minutes.
As hard as the enemy would try to eliminate the church, it has grown dramatically. On the day of Pentecost, there were only 120 people who were given the Holy Spirit initially. Peter later gave a powerful message, and there were about 3,000 people added to the Church. The more the followers of Christ were persecuted, the more they grew in number.
However, we have seen how Satan made a counterfeit Christianity and has blinded the majority of the Christian world. Though there are about 2.2 billion people who professed to be Christians, about 30% of the world population, only a handful of them are true followers of Christ.
With much confusion in the Christian world, how can we be sure that the True Church still exists today? How can be we certain that the Church Jesus built has continued throughout the age of persecution, deception, and confusion? The answer lies in keeping the feast of Pentecost.
The Feast of Pentecost tells us that the Church that begun in AD 31 lives on, even after almost 2000 years ago. We read in Matthew 18:16:
“And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of hades SHALL NOT PREVAIL AGAINST IT!”
This is the promise of Jesus to the Church He built. Ancient cities were built with walls, and the gates are the only way in and out of the city. Thus, the gates have been the most accessible place in a city and all counsels and businesses are done near the gates.
So the Gates of Hades represents the place where Satan and his demons continually plan to destroy God’s people. This verse is basically telling us that no amount of evil strategies, plots, and power can prevail against the church. No one, as in NO ONE, has the power to destroy the Church Jesus has built.
This is the reason that we can have the confidence that no matter what Satan and his minions would do, the church will still live on. It will endure. It will stand the test of time, and the fact that we are celebrating Pentecost means that this church is still with us today and we are part of that church.
Reminder no. 2: God gave us His Holy Spirit
Pentecost reminds us that God gave us His Holy Spirit to help us overcome our sinful, human nature. We read in Acts 1:6-8:
“Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, ‘Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?’ And He said to them, ‘It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall receive POWER when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.’”
When all things seem to be hopeless, and the ministry of Jesus seemed to come to a conclusion, the followers of Christ were promised with the power of the Holy Spirit. The day of Pentecost is not the day of ending, but THE DAY OF BEGINNING.
Receiving the Holy Spirit is not the end of itself. It is not our ultimate goal. It doesn’t mean that when we are baptized, it is already the end of our struggles and Christian walk. Nothing can be farther than the truth. In reality, when you are baptized, have hands laid upon you, and have received the Holy Spirit, it is the time that you begin your Christian journey toward God’s kingdom.
This day marked the day when God poured down His Holy Spirit upon His people. It reminds us that we cannot obtain salvation through our own effort. No matter how good you are in memorizing the scripture and no matter how much you know about the Bible, it is not enough to make us think and act like God. Academic knowledge is not sufficient to convert our human mind. It takes God’s Holy Spirit to help us to become truly converted.
The Apostles whom Jesus has personally taught possessed the right knowledge. But it was not enough for them to truly do what they know. On the day Jesus was captured and killed, almost all of them run and hide. However, on the Day of Pentecost, we have seen their dramatic conversion. From cowards who betrayed their Master’s love, they became a courageous and zealous group of people who are ready to die for what they believe in.
That’s the power of God’s Holy Spirit. It transforms us from carnally minded individuals to spiritually minded followers of Christ.
Reminder no. 3: We are to do God’s work
What does Pentecost have to do with doing God’s work? What does it have to do with preaching the Gospel? Much in every way. Let’s read Acts 1:8:
“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be WITNESSES to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
When we receive the limitless and divine power of the Holy Spirit, we are to become witnesses – to become part of the work of God.
For the ancient Israel and the modern Jews, they think of Pentecost or Shavuot as the time when they offer the first fruit to God. However, today, Pentecost is no longer about the physical harvest of the Israelites, but it is now about the spiritual harvest of God.
God did not start His church for nothing. We are not to be just a group of people who are bench warmers and spectators. We are the Body of Yahshua that has been given the most important work on the face of the planet and that work is to preach about the coming Kingdom of God.
We are not members of a social club who just come and go during Sabbath services. We are more than that. We are not in this world just to enjoy the pleasures of life. We are not here just to earn a living. We have a much greater work before us. This is not just the work of the pastors or church leaders. It is the work of the ENTIRE church. I hope we do our part in doing this magnificent and important mission that God has given us.
These are just three of the important reminders that Pentecost gives us. The Feast of Pentecost reminds us the True Church will endure until the end. Even the darkest and most wicked plan of Satan will not be able to put out the Church of God. Pentecost also reminds us of the Holy Spirit has been made available to us by God. God knows that we can’t do it on our own and we need His help, the Holy Spirit, to lead us to the way of eternal life. Finally, Pentecost reminds us that we have a great and important work to do as part of Jesus’ body of believers. We are to proclaim the Gospel throughout the world and become witnesses.
It is my sincerest hope that we learn the lessons from this wonderful and amazing day. I hope we strive to become part of God’s first fruit harvest and reign with Him for all eternity.
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