Saturday, June 07, 2008

A Mighty Wind – A Pentecost Devotional

So, what is Pentecost, anyway?

Once upon a time, in a faraway land, 120 followers of Christ gathered in one place in Jerusalem. It was 50 days after the Passover (see Leviticus 23:16) that saw Jesus crucified for the sins of the world. They were sad because Jesus left them to go to His Father, but before he went away, He promised that the Counselor would come very soon. Pentecost was the day the Counselor came.

With a mighty, rushing “whoosh”, the living breath of God blew around each one gathered there. A fireball descended and split apart to rest on the head of all 120, creating a visual like a giant birthday cake to celebrate the dawn of the New Testament church.

This was the baptism of the Holy Spirit – an immersion in the Spirit of God, a drenching of believers in the power of Christ that cured disease and raised the dead. WHOA!

Is there any wonder that the first gift given was the ability to speak in other tongues? After all, Christ did say in His last instructions to the apostles that the mission He was leaving them was to be His witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, and the whole world.

Let’s read the account together. Check out Acts 1 and 2.

But Pentecost didn’t technically start there. Let’s take a look at some Old Testament scriptures that showcase this feast instituted by God back in the book of Exodus. Take a moment to read Exodus 23:16. Originally called the Feast of Weeks, the time of Pentecost was a gathering of the firstfruits of harvest in the Old Testament. In essence, the first New Testament church was the firstfruit of the harvest Jesus sowed during His ministry on earth.

How does Pentecost effect us as believers today?

When we receive Christ as our personal Savior today, He gives us the Holy Spirit to indwell us IMMEDIATELY. No waiting. A birthday gift from our Heavenly Father.

Do you have a relationship with Jesus as your personal Savior? If not, recite the prayer below, then find a Pastor or mature Christian friend to help you take the next steps to grow in your faith.

Lord Jesus, I confess to You today that I am a sinner. I am sorry for my sin, and I want You to teach me how to live a blameless life. Thank You for dying for me on the cross. I invite You to come and live in my heart right now. Thank You for washing away my sin and entering my life. I pray this in Your marvelous name, Lord Jesus. Amen.

Additional reading about Pentecost and the Feast of Weeks-

NT references to the baptism of the Holy Spirit:

John 1:33 talks about Jesus baptizing with the Holy Spirit.

Acts 1:5 are Christ’s words to the apostles that they would be baptized by the Holy Spirit in a few days.

Acts 2:1-4 is the account of the baptism of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.

In Acts 2:16-21, Peter addresses the crowd, quoting the book of Joel, and speaks for the first time UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT!

Acts 4:4. Many heard and believed and their numbers grew.

Acts 8:16 finds Peter and John praying for new believers in Samaria to receive the Holy Spirit.

1 Corinthians 12:10 lists some of the spiritual gifts a believer can receive from the Holy Spirit.

Colossians 1:6 says that the gospel message is spreading and bearing fruit all over the world! THAT was the original mission given to the apostles by Christ in chapter 1 of Acts!

1 Peter 1:12 says that the gospel is preached by the Holy Spirit.

OT references to the Feast of Weeks:

Exodus 23:16 calling it the gathering of the firstfruits.

Leviticus 23:16 says it occurs 50 days after the seventh Sabbath (Passover).

Numbers 28:26-31 tells about the sacrifices that are to be made with the grain offerings.

1 Kings 9:25 refers to the Feast of Weeks, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and the Feast of Tabernacles.

2 Chronicles 15:10 makes a reference to the Feast of Weeks.

2 Chronicles 31:7 refers to the time frame of the Feast of Weeks.

Also known as the Feast of the Harvest in Exodus 23:16 and the Day of Firstfruits in Numbers 28:26.

Joel 2:28-32 talks about how God will pour out His Spirit on all people.

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