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Weekly Focus:

Celebrating Pentecost

The day of Pentecost is known as the day that the global church was born. We have the story in Acts 2; let’s see what it can tell us about God’s purposes for the whole world.

Exactly 50 days from the Feast of Firstfruits, which occurred during the Passover and on which Jesus rose from the dead, Jews were instructed to come together each year in Jerusalem and celebrate the Feast of Weeks. They celebrated God’s provision as the wheat harvest was just beginning. Since all Jewish men were commanded to come to Jerusalem at that time (as well as at the Passover and at the Feast of Tabernacles, in the autumn), the city was busy and full of visitors. In fact, Acts 2:5 tells us that “God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven” had gathered. It was into this scene of multi-cultural worship that God chose to begin the huge harvest that Jesus had predicted when he said, “the harvest is plentiful” (Luke 10:2).

Among the many people in the city were believers – those who had followed Jesus and loved him. About 120 strong, they had gathered that morning in one place. What they experienced had never happened before: There was the sound of a violent wind filling the house, they saw tongues of fire separating and coming to rest on each of them, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:2-4). No one was left out as God gave them vivid signs of the Holy Spirit’s presence, including the ability to speak in other languages. 

Because God’s timing of this event was during a major feast, there were people whose hearts God had prepared for the message of the Gospel who now heard the believers declaring the wonders of God in their own languages. And when they observed God at work in this way, their minds were full of questions: “How is it…?” “What does this mean?” (Acts 2:6-12)

Peter got up and preached a sermon with the answers. He pointed to Jesus, the One on whom God had put a stamp of approval by many miracles (Acts 2:22). This new miracle of his followers speaking in other languages was the result of the fulfillment of prophecy that God would place his Spirit on all his people (Acts 2:17-21, quoting Joel 2:28-32). Peter glorified God in the Resurrection, saying that “God has raised this Jesus to life…God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.” (Acts 2:32, 36)

Having heard the message, repented and turned to Jesus Christ for forgiveness of sins, three thousand new believers were added to the church that day! And many of them, when the Festival was over, headed back home carrying this message of salvation, resurrection and power through the Holy Spirit with them. The Church could no longer be contained in one house but spread to provinces throughout the Middle East and the Mediterranean area. 

Today, Christ’s Church is still spreading out. Cross-cultural missionaries and national witnesses proclaim the good news about Jesus – through one-on-one conversations, small Bible Studies, church gatherings, radio, television, and social media. Calvary’s many missionary families and individuals, along with a multitude of others, are faithfully speaking the Word to those whose hearts God has prepared, carrying out what began at Pentecost.

Just as the flames came to rest on each one in the house on the day of Pentecost, every believer today has the power of the Holy Spirit to point others to Jesus. Additionally, as a church, it is our privilege to partner with missionaries to see God’s global purposes accomplished. We celebrate their work and, knowing that it is often challenging and lonely, we encourage them in creative ways whenever possible. One of those ways is through our Celebrate Missionaries fund. This special fund, which is available for your giving year-round, is used for gifts to help them face struggles and feel blessed by our partnership with them. Your gifts to the Celebrate Missionaries fund, both at Pentecost and throughout the year, allow us to love and care well for God’s faithful servants. Thank you.