The most important function of any diary is to help us remember that which we may otherwise forget. Therefore mine is programmed in such a way that, birthdays, anniversaries and celebrations pop up infinitum. Although it would be wrong to only appreciate a parent on their birthday, or your spouse on your anniversary, it is none the less significant to set aside a special time to appreciate someone special.
Fifty days after Passover the Jewish people celebrate the feast of Pentecost. Not only would they give thanks to God for the giving of the Law, but they would celebrate His provision of harvest. Luke tells us that the risen Lord Jesus instructed his followers ‘to wait in Jerusalem until the Father sends you the gift he promised (Ac 1:4). Therefore, as the crowds gathered on the streets below, one-hundred and twenty, waited until ‘suddenly’, God gave that which He promised. As the story unfolds, we find that ‘everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit’ (Ac 2:4)
Why however do we bother celebrating this event today? I believe that the answer is in the explanation that the Apostle Peter gave to the crowds who asked ‘what does this mean?’ (Ac 2:7) Peter assured them that God’s promise was for ‘you, and to your children, all who have been called by the Lord our God’. Isn’t that glorious? It means that as we stop and celebrate, we don’t reflect upon a historical event that is somehow irrelevant to our everyday lives. Rather, we rejoice in the fact that God’s promise to ‘pour out’ His, life-giving, Christ-glorifying, life-transforming Holy Spirit is as real for us as it was for the one-hundred and twenty who waited two-thousand years ago.
Praise God then this Pentecost for the opportunity to stop and give thanks to God for someone very special!