Greg Denham on What Pentecost Says About the Jesus Revolution

Many today are praying for a Jesus Movement – an incredible work of the Gospel in our generation!  But in order to understand who a Jesus-follower is today, we need to understand who we were as Jesus Christ-followers and Pentecost is the ground floor. It is the ground floor of the beginning of THE Jesus Revolution. It could be said then, that the way forward is the way back. So let’s look back! The context of Pentecost matters.  

Jesus instructed the disciples after the resurrection to wait in Jerusalem for the promise of the Father (Acts 1:4). We now know that there was a specific day in mind for that promise to be revealed, the day of Pentecost. This day is one of the three pilgrim festivals required by the Lord (Exod. 23:14-17; 34:18-24; Duet. 16:16-17). “Pente” means fifty. It refers to counting the harvest fifty days after Passover. The Hebrew name is Shavout, which means “weeks”. It is a harvest festival celebrating the end of the barley harvest and the first fruits of the wheat harvest. Yet on the minds of the hundreds of thousands attending that Pentecost, was the belief that the Torah (the first five books of Bible) had been given on Pentecost 1300 years earlier. The Jewish tradition is called Zman Matan Torah, “the season of the giving of the Law,” when the Lord separated His people from Egypt and called them into relationship with Him. It is when the earth shook with flashes of lightning and God spoke in thunder!

What took place fifty days after Jesus gave His life on the cross  –  “when the day of Pentecost had fully come” (Acts 2:1) – reveals that the parallels between the giving of the Law and the ground floor of the Jesus Revolution are unmistakable. God demonstrated His presence atop Mt. Sinai 1300 years earlier; on the ground floor of the Jesus Revolution atop Mt. Zion, God demonstrated His presence, power, and purpose to 120 Jewish believers. On Mt. Sinai God gave His commandments on tablets of stone written with the finger of God; on the ground floor of the Jesus Revolution atop Mt. Zion, the Spirit of God wrote the Commandments on human hearts. At Mt. Sinai 3,000 were judged because of idolatry; on the ground floor of the Jesus Revolution atop Mt. Zion, 3,000 people came to faith in Jesus Messiah!

In essence, the knowledge of God was exploding through the faithful remnant of Israel in the 120 followers of Jesus atop Mt. Zion. They were the remnant that was publicly and divinely identified with tongues of fire above their heads and given the gift of tongues to communicate the wonderful works of God to an international gathering from fifteen different geographical locations with a variety of languages (Acts 2:3; 5-11).

Peter, after being empowered and gifted by the Spirit, declared that Jesus in His death, resurrection, and ascension was creating all things new in Himself and would return to establish His kingdom on the earth in the city of Jerusalem. The New Covenant that had been inaugurated by Jesus’ blood on the cross on Passover (Nisan 14) was now transforming 3,000 Jews who had repented and were being indwelt by the Spirit of God (Acts 3:37-41). From now on, the nations of the world could enter the New Covenant that had been given to Israel to bless the world through the Messiah of Israel, and could now also experience the outpouring of God’s Spirit (Acts 2:16-21; 39).

The context of this reveals an unstoppable plan of God! Both Passover and Pentecost were prophetic! Their ultimate fulfillment is in the Person and work of Jesus Messiah!

Years ago, the apologist and Christian philosopher Francis Shaeffer was asked, “What is the greatest obstacle to the modern church?” His answer was fascinating both in what he didn’t say, as well as what he did say. He didn’t say that the major problems were the “ism’s” in culture (i.e. sensualism, materialism, atheism, relativism) but rather he said, “The real problem is this: the church of the Lord Jesus Christ, individually corporately, tending to do the Lord’s work in the power of the flesh rather than of the Spirit. The central problem is always in the midst of the people of God, not in the circumstances surrounding them.”

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Greg Denham