Pentecost means " fifty days," referring to the number of days from the offering of the barley sheaf at the beginning of the Passover. The 50th day was the Feast of Pentecost. The time elapsed was 7 weeks and so it is also called the " feast of weeks" (Ex. 34:22 Deut. 16:10). It is also called, " feast of harvest," and " day of first fruits" (Ex. 23:16 Num. 28:26). Pentecost was also regarded by the Jews as the anniversary of the law-giving at Sinai. As with most things started in the Old Testament this feast of Pentecost was a real life model or example of something to come in Christ's spiritual kingdom.
Jesus Christ was crucified and buried on the Passover. Exactly 50 days after Christ's death, He returned to his followers and filled them with His Holy Spirit (Acts 2). We find 120 men and women who became the first fruit in Christ's new kingdom (James 1:18-19). This was not a one time deal. The apostle Peter announced that this " Pentecostal" experience was for their families and to an indefinite number of succeeding generations of people (Acts 2:39). Today Christian churches celebrate " Pentecost Sunday" or " Whit Sunday" on the seventh Sunday after Easter. Here at Jesus Name Pentecostal Church we celebrate Pentecost every time we gather together. Exactly what happened on that first Pentecost? For almost a week Jesus' disciples along with about 120 of His family and followers had been hold up in a second story room. They had been praying and waiting for the promise of His Spirit.
Don't forget that this was a spectacular time of feasting and celebration in Jerusalem. Jews from all over the civilized world had come to observe this celebration. When the day of Pentecost had gotten into full swing, and the people were going about their business God came like a powerful wind and filled this upper room where His followers had been waiting for Him. Immediately they were filled with the promise of God's Spirit and instantly burst into praising God in foreign languages.
Now this was no small feat. Jesus' followers were not well educated. Thousands of these rich vacationers ran to see what all of the commotion and noise was about. They were all amazed to hear this unlearned group of poor folk praising the Most High God in all of their complicated foreign languages. It was at this time that the apostle Peter stood up and preached his famous, world changing sermon. In this sermon Peter gave us the steps to salvation! Acts 2:37-42
Now what?! Do churches still experience the same spiritual phenomena the believers did on that first Pentecost? You better believe it! When we are at church or one another's homes or even out in public places God's Spirit still moves on us like He did back then.
Our church services are often a mixture of waiting on God and rejoicing as the wind of His Spirit blows across our congregation and across our hearts. We play musical instruments and sing psalms to the LORD. We pray for the sick to recover and bring all of our needs to Him. God's spiritual gifts still operate in our gatherings. There is a consistent, solid teaching of the Word. Everyone is encouraged to pray through to their own full, personal experience of Pentecost.
Some commentators say that Pentecost was JUST a one time historical happening and that it is not for us today. Those same commentators take the one time historical event of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and base all of their religious teaching on it. Commentators should be careful as to which pieces of history they choose to keep and those they choose to discard. This paradigm shift is critical to understanding the apostles teachings not only on the Cross of Christ, but also on the gift of His Holy Spirit.