What difference does it make that the first Christians were baptized with the fire of the Holy Spirit, 2000 years ago, on the Jewish festival called Shavuot (Hebrew) or Pentecost (Greek)? It means that all who believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Redeemer receive “the indwelling and the power of the Holy Spirit”.
Without the Ascension of Christ Easter is incomplete, Pentecost is obstructed, and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ is impossible.
Pentecost matters because it shows that the Church of Christ plays a central role in God’s work in our world.
We know that the Holy Spirit was poured out on individual disciples of Jesus as they were patiently waiting on the fulfillment of the promise Jesus made to them about the coming of the Holy Spirit to help them in their great commission given by Jesus Christ. They were praying for 10 days, starting on Ascension Day, waiting upon the Lord to fill them and share the power of the resurrected Christ with them, by baptizing them with the Spirit of God.
The first Pentecost day turned followers of Christ into the first congregation of the Christian Church, as they received the power of the Holy Spirit to do God’s work. On that first Pentecost Sunday, new believers were baptized in the Name of Jesus Christ. They shared in the Christian community.
They taught everyone about the resurrected Lord, broke bread, prayed together and enjoyed an extraordinary fellowship with the result that many new believers came to join in their faith community and in celebrating the resurrected Jesus. They gave of their belongings to feed the hungry and maintain the ministry of Word and Sacrament. And “the Lord daily added to their number those who were being saved” (Acts 2:47).
It was no coincidence that 120 believers were praying together when the Holy Spirit was poured out on the Church, as Christ promised. This first congregation would be the seed from which the worldwide, universal Church of our Lord would grow. Their Pentecost experience teaches that the Church of Christ is central to God’s vision for his work. (1 Cor 3.)
Pentecost clearly shows us the unique place the Church of our Lord has in our personal relationship with God and for our worship. The truth found throughout Scripture is that the Church in which the Spirit dwells, is central to the Father’s work in the world and that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is central to our teaching, worship, growth and service.
Pentecost maintains that we reflect on our own participation in the work, mission and life of the Church of God. It insists that we continuously renew our covenant with the God of grace, received at baptism and confirmed by our public confession of faith, to always live as contributing members of the body of Christ.
Holy Pentecost calls us to build the Church of our Lord by preaching the Word, sharing in the Lord’s Supper and spreading the redemption, salvation, love, power and justice of Jesus Christ across the entire world, beginning with our own community.