The first Pentecost was a historical event in the life of the Church.
Pentecost was the day that the first disciples were baptized with the Holy Spirit.
Pentecost is the day in Acts Chapter 2 where the Holy Spirit “filled the whole house where they were sitting” (Acts 2:2).
All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.Acts 2:4 (NIV)
Because this occurrence drew a crowd which heard the proclamation of the gospel in various tongues, Peter stood up to speak to them about repentance and the gospel of Christ (Acts 2:14ff).
By the end of that day, the Church grew by 3,000 people (Acts 2:41).
Reading through the book of Acts, you can see the outgrowth of that historical day in Acts 2:
- people came to vibrant faith in Jesus,
- healings and other miracles were part of the daily experience of believers,
- people were set free from evil spirits,
- Satan’s kingdom was pushed back, and
- believers engaged in rich fellowship and earnest prayer.
All this was the result of the Holy Spirit coming upon men and women and empowering them to be witnesses to Jesus.
Pentecost in 2020
In the life of the church, we can use the season of Pentecost to look forward to the staggering possibilities of what God will do through empowered believers who advance the Kingdom of God.
At PRMI we see people filled with the Holy Spirit and empowered to be witnesses for Jesus taking their places in fulfilling the great commission. This is what we do and our purpose for existing.
Worldviews get stretched by the teaching, the fellowship and prayer cover make it safe to be open to experience the Holy Spirit, and people’s lives are transformed.
When the pandemic of 2020 and global quarantine caused our physical events to be cancelled, we put our core teaching on the empowering work of the Holy Spirit into an e-book:
This then led people to an invitation to a Virtual Upper Room, where volunteer ministry leaders in PRMI would answer questions and then pray for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon whomever the Lord brought in that meeting.
The Lord continues to empower believers today, as people tell us about their experience (edited for length):
I was blessed by the Upper Room last week! It was great to be reminded of truths about the Holy Spirit and take time to be refreshed by Him! As I was participating, the Lord spoke to me. I felt God’s presence. I clearly heard a confirmation of some guidance the Lord was sharing with me. This was a work of the Holy Spirit that I needed as I go into this next season. Tell the Upper Room Team thank you!! I will be sharing with others about this amazing opportunity!Jake, Michigan
The Virtual Upper Room was a beautiful experience. I had asked to speak in tongues a few weeks before but it didn’t happen. After we did the prayer on the call, I had a renewed sense of strength and trust and was able to speak in tongues that evening, praise God! I’m really new in my walk w/Christ and am learning so much. This was such a big part of me having more faith and growing in my sanctification. I’m so grateful my friend forwarded me the info to the group call and God led me to join.Jennifer, Palm Coast FL
Praying for you and the PRMI team that God would continually fill you with His Spirit, His love, strength, grace and energy and surround you with His favor and protect you from every scheme of the evil one! I have had 5 friends go to the Upper Room, with 2 more planning to and we have been sharing the experience a lot! I am really excited to see what God has for us this Shavuot/Pentecost!! If the amount of warfare and intercession we in Iowa are experiencing is any indication, it must be BIG!Angela, Iowa
Yes, you can be filled with the Holy Spirit: The Spirit ‘within’ for character development and the Spirit ‘upon’ for empowerment. Why? To be witnesses for the Lord Jesus Christ. This ministry turned my life around in the early 1990’s and continues to be instrumental in creating an environment/opportunity for my relationship with the Lord to grow and flourish.Cindy, Michigan
I saw the Holy Spirit move in people’s hearts, minds and souls and experienced their joys. I saw how many prayers before, during and after the event are important in preparing the way for a kairos movement of the Holy Spirit.Sheryl, New Jersey
I thought I was going to this online event just to see what was going on and what it was exactly about. Instead the Lord met me in a very difficult and painful place. He spoke the truth into that place and wrapped His loving arms around me. I had a fresh revelation of my Father and His heart for me. Thank youJanet, Ontario
Meaning and Origin of Pentecost
Pentecost comes from the Greek Πεντηκοστή (Pentēkostē) meaning “fiftieth.” It is the Greek name for one of the Jewish feast days established in the Old Testament, where it is called the Feast of Weeks (called Shavuot, meaning “weeks” in Hebrew).
It is mentioned in:
- Exodus 23-24
- Leviticus 16
- Numbers 28
- Deuteronomy 16
Pentecost celebrated the spring wheat harvest and was always celebrated 50 days (7 weeks) after the Passover.
To followers of Christ, Pentecost marks the outpouring of the Holy Spirit for empowerment upon the Church.
Jesus promised to send his disciples another Comforter after He ascended.
He instructed the disciples to wait until the Holy Spirit would come upon them so that they could be witnesses.
That day was Pentecost.
In Acts 2, the Holy Spirit is poured out in power upon the people, inwardly to write the law upon their hearts and outwardly to empower believers to live out that law.
The first Pentecost was a unique historical event in the life of the Church.
The Outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost Fulfilled a Prophetic Hope
Moses yearned for that time when the Holy Spirit would be upon more people:
But Moses replied, “Are you jealous for my sake? I wish that all the Lord’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put His Spirit on them!”Numbers 11:29(NIV)
Joel expressed this prophetic hope.
And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days. I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved; for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be deliverance, as the Lord has said, even among the survivors whom the Lord calls.Joel 2:28-32(NIV)
Joel’s statement is absolutely radical.
The Holy Spirit poured out upon everyone regardless of social class, age, gender, or occupation.
The same Spirit of God who moved across the face of the waters at creation, who empowered Moses, and spoke through the prophets like Isaiah, Habbakuk and Joel, would fall upon ordinary people.
Before Pentecost, this outward episodic work of the Holy Spirit was limited to a select few.
But on the day of Pentecost through today, the Holy Spirit can fill any believer episodically for works of service to advance the Kingdom of God.
Often Pentecost is viewed as the birthday of the Church, but this is a looking back to what God has done rather than a looking forward to the staggering possibilities of what He is going to do.
I believe God has given the Church the season of Pentecost to call us to seek new vision from the Father for advancing the Kingdom of God and to receive anew from the Holy Spirit the spiritual gifts, power and authority needed for us to be Jesus’s effective witnesses.
The Impact of Pentecost Continues
You can receive the empowerment of the Holy Spirit to do whatever ministry you are called to.
Each year Pentecost is an opportunity to pray for and to receive anew the empowering gift-giving work of the Holy Spirit for defeating evil, growing the Church and advancing the Kingdom of God.
For Christians to be empowered witnesses to Jesus Christ, Pentecost cannot just be the remembrance of an historical event.
Instead we can pursue afresh the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. This is for more than just our own personal empowerment and gifts; rather, it is a matter of us being joined up with members of the Body of Christ into Kingdom-advancing waves.
May this Pentecost mark another outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon you.