If you ask people from Leipzig what Pentecost means for them, they are probably the most likely to associate the “Wave Gothic Meeting”, which attracts thousands of visitors to the fair city every year for well-dressed up, celebrating and reunion.
So the conclusion suggests that people in other cities must be terribly bored at Pentecost if they don’t have a similar event in their city.
Interestingly, the origin of Pentecost is not that far from today’s Leipzig happening.
Not so much disguise, but more turmoil – the original Pentecost
There was a big uproar at the original Pentecost
Pentecost, originally “Pentekostē”, means 50 and is of Biblical origin. 50 days before Pentecost, Jesus Christ rose from the dead.
On that original Pentecost day, over 3,000 people chose to believe in Jesus and base their lives on him. They sincerely repented of their mistakes and their distance from God and were baptized. Just because.
How was that possible??
The reason was the gathering of a small group of people in Jerusalem. But the meeting was more than a chance meeting of friends. Because something supernatural fell on this group, which was one of Jesus’ followers, or disciples. It should change these people and those around them forever.
Supernatural signs: tongues of fire and foreign languages
These followers of Jesus from Galilee really caught fire, because in the middle of their meeting, small flames of fire suddenly began to dance on their heads. However, this was not a case for the fire brigade, but a sign of the presence of the living God. But this event was not limited to successors in the house. Because at the same time a loud roar was heard outside, which was noticed by many passers-by.
But these extraordinary signs were just the beginning.
People are drawn to God in a supernatural way
Because of the strong roaring many people came. During this time many people from different countries stayed in Jerusalem. Of course they all spoke their mother tongue. When they approached the house of the disciples, they thought they could not believe their ears.
The disciples, who were later called Jesus’ apostles, had previously only communicated in Aramaic. But suddenly they were able to speak in different languages that they had never learned.
When they took to the streets, people from the most remote countries suddenly heard these Galileans speaking in their own language. When they listened more closely, they were completely amazed; the men, who actually only spoke Galilean, could not only say greetings. No. Instead, they praised God in new languages and told strangers about God’s greatness and goodness – everyone in his language. And there were people from at least 17 nations present.
Everyone was confused.
But the foreigners had a very simple explanation: The Galilean boys must have drunk too much.
People from all countries came to believe and were baptized.
Alcohol is not the solution either
Alcohol should explain this unique phenomenon? Peter, as one of the people closest to Jesus, probably had to laugh secretly when he heard this utterance.
He had a more appropriate explanation.
God’s spirit, which Jesus had already announced as a helper for his followers, had fulfilled this group. On this occasion, Peter also clarified all those standing around what this Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified and then resurrected, was all about. It happened at Easter.
The impact of Peter’s moving speech was unique. Peter called everyone around to repent and to be baptized. And over 3,000 people followed his call that day!
There was a reason for this movement, an originator: it is the Holy Spirit who is the Spirit of God.
3,000 people were baptized in a single day.
God’s Spirit turns rabbit feet into courageous people
Through him, the previously frightened, aimless followers of Jesus suddenly became a courageous group that spoke to people from other countries with a supernatural gift. And these people noticed that when Peter spoke to them, it was not only him who spoke to them, but God himself. This Holy Spirit did something in them that caused remorse. Repentance, about their own distance from God and their guilt. They came to the knowledge of God. And in response, they started praising God in the middle of the street.
But this “impression” of the Holy Spirit was not short-lived. People remained changed. They came together again and again to praise God and to encourage each other.
The first Judeo-Christian community emerged from the movement of the Holy Spirit. And it was the founding story of the worldwide Christian community. You can find the whole story in the New Testament, in Acts 2, 1-14.
Pentecost is the cause of the emergence of the worldwide church
Pentecost wasn’t the beginning
But why had Jesus’ followers all been together on this important day??
Even for the Jews, to whom the disciples of Jesus belonged, this day had always been a festive day. It was originally the first fruit festival. The first harvested fruits of the year were dedicated to God. They were not eaten, but given in the temple as a gift for God. It later became the Jewish weekly festival. During this time, thanksgiving to God for the law that he gave to Moses on Mount Sinai became the focus. The weekly festival was celebrated 50 days after Passover. The Jews celebrated their departure from Egypt at Passover. Pentecost was not mentioned as a Christian festival until AD 130.
The Pentecost date changes every year.
By the way, Pentecost falls on a different date every year because it refers to the (also flexible) Easter Sunday. You can read here why this changes every year. Pentecost falls in any case between May 10 and June 13.
The main Pentecost symbol
The most famous Pentecostal symbol still hangs in many churches today: the dove. The reason for this can be found in the Gospel of John 1:32: Jesus is baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan that flows through Israel. At the same moment, the Holy Spirit descends on Jesus – in the form of a dove. In addition to being a symbol of the Holy Spirit, the dove stands for purity and peace.
The dove was a symbol of the Holy Spirit
Can we still experience Pentecost like the disciples back then??
The Holy Spirit that the disciples of Jesus received at that time is promised to anyone who entrusts their lives to Jesus Christ. So we too can experience the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit encourages and consoles us in everyday life. He helps us in all difficult or painful situations. Through him we can pray to God even when we have run out of words for grief or joy. He lets us understand what God’s truth is. Here you can read in a personal report how someone experiences the Holy Spirit today.
How he approaches us and whether tongues of fire dance on our head depends on him. But that’s not important either. It is only important that everything he does in us brings us closer to God and Jesus, lets us experience his goodness and gives us courage for him and to live in this world with him.
Even today you can still experience a deep connection to the Holy Spirit.
If you want to know more about Pentecost or the Holy Spirit, please contact us or visit us. We look forward to you!
Easter, like Pentecost, is one of the high Christian holidays. You can find out why and what happened at Easter here.
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