They praised God and demonstrated God’s goodness to everyone. (Acts 2:47)
As Christians, we celebrate Pentecost as the birthday of the church and as the day God sent the Spirit to the followers of Jesus. But Pentecost is not a holiday that originated with Christianity. Pentecost was a Jewish festival more commonly known as the Feast of Weeks.
While the disciples were celebrating Pentecost, the Spirit arrived. The arrival was not a calm, quiet event; rather, the Spirit came sounding like a violent wind and appearing like tongues of fire. The Spirit’s arrival in Jerusalem on Pentecost Day was a fulfillment of prophecy and an answer to the community’s expectant prayers. Jesus had promised to send the disciples a helper, and now it had arrived.
The excitement surrounding the arrival of the Holy Spirit attracted a crowd. Not everyone in the crowd was convinced of the Spirit’s presence. Some joked that they were witnessing the effects of strong wine. The Spirit-filled Peter responded to this accusation and began to preach. It must have been an exceptional sermon, because we are told that about three thousand believers were baptized that day!
The Spirit did not come just to the disciples but also to each person gathered there. It is this Spirit that empowered God’s people to continue to spread the good news of Jesus. The Spirit is still active and at work in the world. We may not hear rushing wind or see tongues of fire descending on one another, but God’s Spirit continues to empower us to do God’s work.
The concept of the Holy Spirit is sometimes a difficult one for children and adults to understand. It is OK to admit to your children that you don’t have all the answers. Mystery is a part of faith.
• We can tell stories about God and Jesus to others.
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