Christian Celebration of Pentecost
Pentecost is celebrated in liturgical churches, including Catholic, Roman, Lutheran, Anglican, Eastern Orthodox, etc. Some Protestant churches observe it as well. This holiday is less popular than Easter or Christmas. However, it is actually an important holiday as it observes a turning point in the history of Christianity and can even be considered as the birthday of the Christian church. Since so few people know enough about it, let’s answer the most frequently asked questions about Pentecost!
What is Pentecost?
On Pentecost, Christians celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit on Jesus Christ’s early disciples. Following Jesus’ death and resurrection, before the first Pentecost, there was no movement that could be called the church. It’s when the Pentecost took place, the disciples were actually able to establish the church.
What does the word “Pentecost” mean?
In Greek, the word pentekostos means “fifty”. This name can be found in Leviticus 23:16. This verse tells people to count fifty days, or seven weeks from the last day of Passover to know when to begin the next holiday.
Another name under which Pentecost was known at first is Shavuot, which means Weeks. This day was very important for Israeli people and had a rich history. At first, it was a harvest festival and then it became the celebration of law giving on Mt. Sinai. For Christians, this day became significant since it is considered that during the celebration of Shavuot (which was seven weeks after Jesus’ resurrection), the Holy Spirit came onto Christ’s followers.
What actually happened on the day of Pentecost?
The event that was held on the day of Pentecost is described in the Book of Acts, in the New Testament. The first Christ’s followers gathered in one place and suddenly a sound came to them from heaven and filled the house like a strong wind. Everyone became filled with the Holy Spirit and started speaking other languages. Thus, they gained the ability to speak about the teaching and were empowered to continue their mission.
After that, Peter, who was one of the leading disciples of Jesus Christ, began preaching his first sermon. He said that this event was the fulfillment of prophecy given by Joel, a Hebrew prophet. According to this prophecy, God would pour the Holy Spirit on people to let them use the divine power. The coming of this day was considered as coming of “day of the Lord.”
Peter also explained that people had to change their lives and accept baptism in the name of Christ. Thus, they would receive the Lord’s gift and be forgiven for their sins. According to the Book of Acts, approximately 3000 people joined the church on that day.
How is Pentecost celebrated?
There are different ways to celebrate Pentecost, including singing songs, praying, and preaching sermons. In some churches, people even pray to be given the same gift as those at the first Pentecost. Red color, as a symbol of fire and power, is commonly used during the celebration. Usually, a number of new members join the church on this day.
Do you have any other questions about Pentecost?