Pentecost Sunday - we Baptists do not typically celebrate Pentecost as a holiday, but I think we should. If you were to ask most of us about Pentecost, we would probably be hard pressed to tell you what it is about or when it was. As believers, if we are going to become serious students of God’s Word, we need to know, understand, and remember days like today.
The celebration of Pentecost began over 1,500 years before Jesus. Let’s go back to 1500 BC. The Jews have been enslaved in Egypt for over 400 years. God’s deliverer, Moses, warns Pharaoh to “let my people go!” But he refuses. Plague after plague are sent, but Pharaoh's heart remains hard until the final plague, the Angel of Death moving through the land (Ex 12). The Angel was to kill the first-born child of every home. But, homes that put lamb’s blood on the doorposts and the lintel were “passed over.”
That night became the most important feast of Judaism, the Passover. Pharaoh let the people go the next day, and the children of Israel crossed the Red Sea (Ex 14) and headed to Mount Sinai (Ex 19) where God met with Moses. The Jews believe that 50 days after they left Egypt, Moses walked down from the mountain with the Torah, the Word of God written by the finger of God, in his hands (Ex 31:18). To this day, many Jews celebrate Pentecost by staying awake all night to pray and study the first five books of the Bible.