Pentecost took place on the well established Jewish festival of Firstfruits, which was observed at the beginning of
the wheat harvest. It was exactly 50 days after the Passover, the time of Jesus’ crucifixion. Jesus had told his apostles
that something big was going to happen, and that they were to wait for it in Jerusalem instead of returning to Galilee.
Jesus had plans for his apostles – but he knew they could not do the work themselves – they would need his help.
And so the apostles and disciples waited in Jerusalem, praying together for several days. Then, on that fateful morning,
suddenly came the sound as of a mighty rushing wind. Tongues of flame flickered on their heads and they began to praise
God in many tongues – to the astonishment of those who heard them.
The Holy Spirit had come to dwell in the apostles and disciples of Jesus and the Church was born. The Christians were
suddenly full of life and power, utterly different from their former fearful selves. The change in them was permanent.
The fourth light of Window 9 at St Mary's depicts the Holy Spirit being given at Pentecost - see right.
Peter gave the first ever sermon of the Christian church that morning, proclaiming Jesus as the Messiah. His boldness
in the face of possible death was in marked contrast to the man who had denied Jesus 50 days before. And 3,000 people
responded, were converted and were baptised. How’s that for fast church growth!
Of course Pentecost was not the first time the Holy Spirit had acted in this world. All through the Old Testament
there are accounts of how God’s Spirit guided people and strengthened them. But now, because of Christ’s death and
resurrection, he could dwell in them. From now on, every Christian could have the confidence that Jesus was with
them constantly, through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
From the Parish Pump