United Church of God

Pondering the Path to Pentecost

You are here

Pondering the Path to Pentecost

Login or Create an Account

With a UCG.org account you will be able to save items to read and study later!

Sign In | Sign Up


“When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:1-4).

This dramatic display of power imbued the disillusioned disciples with a confidence that transformed them into apostles who fearlessly took the gospel to the world. Peter unapologetically told the crowd gathered on Pentecost, “‘Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.’

“Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, ‘Men and brethren, what shall we do?’ Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit’” (Acts 2:36-38). Three thousand heeded the call, repented and were baptized on that day.

We tend to “romanticize” the glory of what occurred on this Day of Pentecost without pondering the path that led to it. Indeed, the day was glorious—the power of the “Promise of the Father” that transformed the hearts and minds of the thousands was unprecedented.

However, the path that preceded this transformative event was tumultuous and traumatic. Let’s consider a few of those present that day: Their Lord and Master, whom they expected would establish the Kingdom of God in Israel, was summarily executed in the most excruciating manner. This made them enemies of the Roman state with the very real risk of suffering the same fate.

Three days later when the tomb was empty, powerful men framed them with the false accusation that they stole His body while the Roman soldiers slept (Matthew 28:13). Imagine the fear that this accusation could have caused them. Now, not only were they enemies of the state, they were allegedly conspiring to cause an uprising greater than the first. It’s no wonder they went into hiding behind locked doors for fear of the Jews (John 20:19).

Then Jesus suddenly appeared in their midst behind the locked doors and said, “‘Peace be with you.’ When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord” (John 20:19-20).

Sometime later they were with Him on the Mount of Olives and watched Him as “He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight” (Acts 1:9).

These are just a few of the tumultuous and deeply traumatic events the disciples encountered on the path to Pentecost. By any measure these events were enough to cause acute and crippling Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Except the trauma did not cripple them. They preached the gospel fearlessly throughout the known world and changed the course of history.

What made this possible? The power, promise and presence of the Holy Spirit.

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7).

No matter how tumultuous our path, let’s ponder and embrace the power, love and soundness of mind extended to us by the gift of the Holy Spirit poured out on Pentecost.