Happy Birthday, Church!
‘When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house… and they were filled with the Holy Spirit.’
My dear family in Christ,
This Sunday we celebrate what many consider to be the ‘birth’ of our Church, as the Holy Spirit descends upon the small gathering of the first people who would be called ‘Christians’. Here are some details I hope you find helpful:
Passover to Sinai, Last Supper to Pentecost, The New Law
‘Pentecost’, meaning ‘50 days’, was already celebrated as the Jewish feast that concluded the 50 days of Passover, marking the exact time that passed between the people of Israel being freed from slavery in Egypt, to the giving of the Law to Moses at Mount Sinai. Jesus’ Passion, Death, and Resurrection is the fulfillment of the Passover, and the disciples being ‘filled with the Holy Spirit’ is the fulfillment of the Law of Moses. “I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts.”(Jeremiah 31:33).
120 Disciples, 12 Apostles
In Acts chapter 1, we hear that there were about 120 gathered in the ‘upper room’ where Jesus celebrated the Passover/Last Supper 50 days prior. This number included Mary + and some other women, others called the ‘brethren’, and the twelve Apostles. Jesus chose 12 Apostles when He established His Church because He was restoring the Kingdom of Israel, which was made up of the 12 Tribes of Israel. This is why it was necessary that Judas’ place not be left vacant. Interestingly enough, Pentecost was also a feast celebrating the harvest (like our Thanksgiving). It was a time to thank God and offer him a tithe, 1/10 of one’s harvest. The 12 Apostles represent a tithe of the 120 gathered, in thanksgiving for the Church.
Casting Lots + The Priesthood
Matthias, the 12th Apostle, is chosen to replace Judas by casting lots. Every time ‘casting lots’ is brought up in scripture, it has to do with the priesthood: in this case, in the Old Testament to choose a priest to enter the sanctuary, and at Calvary when the soldiers strip Jesus of His garments.
I hope you find these details interesting- I definitely do! May you have a blessed Pentecost Sunday, and Happy Birthday, dear Church. Let us continue to pray as the Church always has: Come, Holy Spirit!
God Love You,