PENTE is Greek for the number 50. So what is Pentecost?
Leviticus 23:15-21, describes a ‘Feast of Weeks’ or the ‘Counting of the Omer’ starting after the Passover, on the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, and lasting 50 days, or seven weeks, ending with Shavuot – the second of three major Jewish harvest festivals.
(An ‘omer’ was an ancient measure for grain equal to one tenth of an ephah. An omer of Barley was sacrificed after Passover and one of Wheat was sacrificed at Shavuot)
Also according to Jewish tradition, Moses received the Law from God at Mount Sinai on the 50th day after the first Passover.
Similarly, counting 50 days, or seven weeks, from Easter brings us to the Day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples and they began speaking other languages. All the God-fearing Jews who had come to Jerusalem from the surrounding nations to observe Shavuot at the Temple, were amazed at what they heard.
Today, at Pentecost, we too need to stop and listen, and praise God for what He has promised us, and speak with others about what Jesus has done for us and for them…
Malcolm Guite sums up the blessings of PENTECOST beautifully in this poem:
Today we feel the wind beneath our wings
Today the hidden fountain flows and plays
Today the church draws breath at last and sings
As every flame becomes a tongue of praise.
This is the feast of fire, air, and water
Poured out and breathed and kindled into earth.
The earth herself awakens to her maker
And is translated out of death to birth.
The right words come today in their right order
And every word spells freedom and release
Today the gospel crosses every border
All tongues are loosened by the Prince of Peace
Today the lost are found in His translation.
Whose mother-tongue is Love, in every nation.
And that’s why we celebrate PENTECOST
50 days after our Lord, Jesus, rose from the Dead.