The Story of Pentecost (1) : Jesus’s apostles receive the gift of God’s Holy Spirit, and the startling effects quickly draw a crowd.
The Story of Pentecost
Part one

Based on Acts 2:1-41, by St Luke the Evangelist (?-c. 84).

In Jesus’s day, the Roman Empire did not enforce Jewish law but the authorities in Jerusalem did. They required all Jews to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem for certain major feasts, one of which was the Feast of Weeks, fifty days after Passover.

THE Jewish Feast of Weeks* was kept fifty days after Passover, so in Greek the feast was sometimes called Pentecost, from the word for ‘fiftieth’. It was a celebration of the Spring harvest, and Jewish law required everyone to go to Jerusalem for it.

Jesus’s apostles, together with his mother Mary and other women from his entourage, had remained in Jerusalem since his death and resurrection. Now, on the Feast of Weeks, they were gathered, as had become their habit, in an upper-storey room for prayer.

Suddenly, a sound like a powerful wind filled the room, and forked tongues of fire could be seen above the heads of Peter, John, and the other apostles (including Matthias, chosen in Judas’s place).

And they began to speak — not in Aramaic or Greek, but in a bewildering variety of little-known languages; and before long, this extraordinary performance began to attract attention.

* In Hebrew, it is called ‘Shavuot’. It marks the gathering of ‘first fruits’, i.e. the first ripe products of the growing season, which are then offered to God.

Based on Acts 2:1-41, by St Luke the Evangelist (?-c. 84).

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Picture: © Karl and Ali, Geograph. Licence: CC-BY-SA 2.0. View original
The harvest is ready beneath the church of St Patrick in Preston Patrick, Cumbria. Pentecost (‘the Feast of the fiftieth day’) is a Spring harvest festival, the perfect symbol for the first gathering of believers into the Church.

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