God Speaks To The World
Pentecost was one of the three great Jewish pilgrim feasts. All able bodied men were expected to come to Jerusalem, from wherever they lived, for the festival. The word 'Pentecost' is of Greek and Latin origin – used by the church as it was the fiftieth day after Easter Sunday (1 Corinthians 16:8). But the Jewish celebration was 'Shavuot' the feast of Weeks (being seven full weeks from Passover) or Harvest of First Fruits.
There were two harvests in Israel and Shavuot marked the reaping of the first crop. How appropriate that it became the occasion for the birth of the church as it was baptised by the Holy Spirit. Thousands of new believers heard the gospel that day and were included in God's first spiritual harvest (Acts 2:41). Shavuot also commemorated the giving of the Law to Moses on Sinai: the gospel was proclaimed to the world for the first time on that day (Acts 2:36).
There was no better time to spread the Word, not just because of the symbolic significance but also it was the easiest time for travel. Dispersed Jews came from all over the then-known world (from Italy to Egypt and Turkey to Iraq – as they are known today … Acts 2:9-11). The Roman Empire provided reliable trade routes which the pilgrims used. Packed into Jerusalem around the temple, the visitors gathered to listen as the apostles and other believers spoke out about what God had done. Amazingly, the pilgrims could all understand because the Holy Spirit enabled the uneducated Galileans to speak in many foreign languages.
The time had come for the world to hear about Jesus. Then, as the travellers went back to their homes, they carried news about Jesus. Those who believed took the Holy Spirit back with them to start churches and witness to many others. Today, God still uses people to take the truth about Jesus wherever they travel. The internet is a great tool but personal recommendation is better. When an authentic Christian lives a life of Christ-like love and explains the gospel, the world will be curious, amazed or offended (Acts 17:32), but some will be saved (1 Corinthians 9:22). You may travel to see family or friends, or to another office for work. On the journey and at your destination remember that the Holy Spirit is with you. He will help you to tell out what God has done. When people want to know more, you can explain (www.crosscheck.org.uk).
© Dr Paul Adams