Many Christians around the world will celebrate Pentecost Sunday. Some, however, may not understand the meaning of this traditional Christian celebration. Whether you have been observing Pentecost for years, or whether it is a completely new concept to you, here are a few reasons why celebrating Pentecost this year might be a good idea.
1. Pentecost Reminds Us Of The Holy Spirit, Period.
For some Christians, the Holy Spirit is kind of like “the forgotten God,” as Francis Chan expressed it. We talk much of “God,” or “Jesus,” but the Holy Spirit gets less attention. Maybe it’s because we don’t understand Him. Maybe we’re afraid of “getting all charismatic.” Whatever the case, Pentecost is worth celebrating if, for no other reason, we celebrate the Holy Spirit. In so doing, we neglect him no longer.
2. Pentecost Reminds Us Of The Power Of The Holy Spirit.
If a single word could be used to describe the events on Pentecost, it would be the word, “power.” To a huddled group of discouraged disciples, there came the sound of hurricane-force winds, the strange presence of flames above each head, and then an explosion of gospel witness that catapulted the Jerusalem church to a force that was too large to ignore. When several dozen men and women proclaim the truth among thousands of people, each one hearing them in his or her own language, you know something powerful is at work. Pentecost was where it started.
3. Pentecost Reminds Us Of The Importance Of The Great Commission.
In order to really grasp the “why” of Pentecost, it helps to understand the “when.” Pentecost took place on the heels of Jesus’ final command, “Go and make disciples.” After a brief pause — like the calm before a mighty storm — the Holy Spirit arrived. A major part of his mission was to empower the disciples to fulfill Christ’s command. The injunction to make disciples of all nations and teach them all things is a tall order. Only the Spirit could aid them. When we celebrate Pentecost, we can’t help but realize the magnificent responsibility we have been given in the Great Commission.
4. Pentecost Encourages Us In Our Labor.
The Book of Acts opens with a bang — the Holy Spirit arrives (Acts 2:2) and the world begins to be turned upside down by the Church (Acts 17:6). The remainder of the Book of Acts chronicles the tireless labor of Peter, Paul, and others as they experience labors, imprisonments, beatings, being stoned, shipwrecks, danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from their own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. How in the world did they keep going? It was the Spirit. Throughout the entire Book of Acts, we see the theme of the Holy Spirit’s activity. He appears on virtually every page in the book. Although the book is traditionally called “The Acts of the Apostles,” it is more appropriate to call it “The Acts of the Holy Spirit.” This should encourage us. We, too, are hard at work — in our churches, in our workplace, in our homes, in nurseries, in VBS, in sharing the gospel, and in living out our faith. Where do we get the strength to go on? It is from the Holy Spirit. Pentecost gives us a wonderful opportunity to look afresh at our God, the Holy Spirit, and experience the encouragement that He delights to give.
5. Pentecost Gives Us Hope.
One of the reasons why celebrating Pentecost is such a glorious thing is because of its hope-giving power. When the disciples scurried off to their upper room retreat after Jesus’ ascension, they may have been a rather discouraged group. Here they were — a handful of people, invested with great truth, and commissioned with great promise. But where was the power? What could they do? The arrival of the Holy Spirit was nothing short of shocking. In His power, they had hope. Things were happening! Thousands were converted! The church mushroomed in size! The truth was proclaimed in every language! Here was hope! But what about today? Is there any hope for us today? Absolutely, yes. We have the same Holy Spirit, and He is no less powerful than He was at Pentecost.
6. Pentecost Overwhelms Us With A Sense Of Awe And Reverential Worship.
Those who meditate little upon the greatness of God will little appreciate his infinitude. But when we look — really look — at our God in all His fullness, we can’t help but be overwhelmed. Seizing opportunity at Pentecost to meditate upon the Holy Spirit will create in every believer a yearning for His power and a sense of humility in the face of His grandeur. This Holy Spirit whom we so easily take for granted — living in us — is God, in all His holiness, infinity, majesty, and glory.
This year, at Pentecost, take some time to read some in the Book of Acts, especially chapter 2. Take some time to pray, thanking the Holy Spirit for who He is and what He does. Take some time to meditate upon His person and experience the joy, hope, and encouragement that He provides.
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