MInister's Corner: The Gift of the Holy Spirit
The Gift of the Holy Spirit
Pentecost: a Greek word that means “fiftieth day.” It was the Jewish Feast of Weeks (seven weeks after Passover ended) and celebrated the wheat harvest. Pentecost helps explain why so many people were in Jerusalem on the occasion that is the focus of the second chapter of Acts. Pentecost is the day we celebrate as “the Birthday of the Church.” Some congregations even sing “Happy Birthday” on Pentecost.
The disciples had been told to wait in Jerusalem for the gift of the Holy Spirit. And so they gathered in a room that tradition tells us was the same place Jesus had celebrated the final Passover with them. The disciples had no idea what they were waiting for. They were just following instructions. Suddenly, it happened! A roar like a mighty wind, tongues of flame sitting on each head—and they were transformed. With holy boldness they ran from the room and began proclaiming the gospel, leading to a powerful sermon, delivered by Peter, that won three thousand converts. What preacher wouldn’t like to have those numbers to report to the denominational office!
This was, however, the end of the process—or rather, the end of the beginning. The actual end has yet to be written. It will come when Jesus Christ returns as the conquering Lord. The process actually begins in today’s passage from John, where Jesus promises the gift of the Holy Spirit: “If you love me, keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father and he will give you another Paraclete.”