Today is Pentecost Sunday. All over the world Christians, not only Pentecostals, will be celebrating the Holy Spirit. Pentecost means “fiftieth” day, it occurred fifty days after the resurrection of Jesus. On Pentecost Day, the Holy Spirit descended on a few disciples who were gathered together at Jerusalem. Before his departure to heaven, Jesus had commanded his disciples to tarry at Jerusalem for the Promise of the Father. And on that day the Holy Spirit was poured out on the disciples, and the history of the world was changed.
The world was changed because on that day the Church universal was born. More importantly, on that day the ministry of the Holy Spirit was universalized and became a prominent feature among Christians. From then onwards evangelism, the gifts and ministry of the Holy Spirit, assumed a new dimension.
As Dr Robert and Maureen McQuillan beautifully observed, Pentecost marks the:
* Supernatural occurrences of how that promise was fulfilled – flames of fire resting on everyone and a mighty wind (Acts 2:2).
* Additional manifestation of the Spirit causing Jesus’ followers to speak in tongues that not only centred on declaring the wonderful works of God but so confounded unsaved people outside that it led to many salvations! (Acts 2:5-13).
* First ever public pronouncement of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead (Acts 2:31, 32, 36).
* Confirmation that the promise of the Holy Spirit is for every born-again believer, not just a chosen few or a particular church group or only leaders! (Acts 2:38b).
* Ground-breaking declaration that repentance is the only way to forgiveness of sin and to gaining salvation – not like many of today’s weak pleas of “All you have to do is just give your heart to Jesus, nothing else”! (Acts 2:38a).”
The significance of Pentecost lies in the empowering of the disciples to take the gospel to all the peoples or nations of the earth. Jesus’ command to his disciples was, and still is, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me[a] in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” The future of the Church lies in her obedience to this mandate. The Church is supposed to reach out to the world with the message of hope, love and power.
Pentecost means a lot to all Bible believing Christians, especially to the Pentecostals. Pentecostal Christianity used to be a small fraction of Protestantism, but today it is the fastest growing segment of Christianity, numbering over 600 million. A century ago, Pentecostals were denigrated and mocked, but that has changed. As Professor Philip Jenkins said, the Church has gone Pentecostal.
Today, Pentecost Sunday reminds the Church, especially the Pentecostals, who unfortunately have grown obese and lukewarm, due to the prosperity message to continue with the mandate of reaching out to the world with the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Today, we still have many people unreached with the gospel.
Pentecost Sunday reminds the Church to return to the message of Pentecostalism, which emphasizes on repentance, the importance of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, the need to operate in the gifts of the Holy Spirit and the Lordship and leadership of the Holy Spirit in the Church.
Lastly, today offers Christians the opportunity to ask the Lord to empower the Church afresh with the Holy Spirit. The Church needs another Revival and Reformation.