The Christian celebration of Pentecost stems from the gathering of the apostles and others on the Jewish festival day. While gathered the Spirit of God came upon them with the sound of rushing wind, and with tongues of fire above them. They could then speak miraculously in the languages of all that heard them (Acts 2). This receiving of the Holy Spirit marks the beginning of the church, and the power which allowed a small band of believers to fulfill their charge “to go into all the world, and make disciples.”
I Corinthians 12: 7- 11 (NIV) states: “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.” These gifts gave the guidance and power necessary to change the world.
The first Pentecost was not the one in Jerusalem in circa 30 A.D. however. It occurred in the Sinai fifty days after the escape from Egypt. It was here that Israel received the commandments of God. A mission if you will. They would be God’s people, and He their God. The guidance they would need was provided via Moses in God’s own words.
At Jerusalem God again gave a mission. It was the empowering of His people to go into all the world, and to bring others into the fold. On this day it would not be written word, but the living Spirit of God to guide them.
Are we up to that mission (of word and of power) today? His guidance awaits us.