Q: What is Pentecost?
A: I’m so glad you asked! We’ve finally bumped into a Christian festival that isn’t adapted from a pagan one. It’s adapted from a Hebrew one!
Q: Which is?
Q: Thanks. That clears everything up.
A: Hey, it’s what I do. The ancient Jewish festival of Pentecost, also called the Feast of Weeks, is when the Hebrews brought the first fruits of their harvest to the Temple. To this day, Jews use this festival to celebrate and remember the giving of the law on Mt. Sinai.
Q: So what’s with the name?
A: Pentecost happens the day after you count seven weeks from Passover, hence “Festival of Weeks”. Seven times seven is 49, which means the feast falls on the fiftieth day, hence “Pentecost”.
Q: What does that have to do with the Christian celebration of Pentecost?
A: The disciples were Jews. And like all observant Jews, the gathered together to celebrate Pentecost. But this time, it was different. This time, instead of bringing their gifts to God, God gave them the gift of the Spirit. Instead of receiving the law on tablets of stone, God wrote it on their hearts. That’s why Pentecost is called the birthday of the Christian church.