“We celebrate Christ’s birth (Christmas) and his death/resurrection (Easter) but the result of these events left his disciples unchanged.”
It amazes me how the Day of Pentecost is overlooked by most churches — even among the Pentecostals! Unfortunately, the most popular Christian holidays are Christmas and Easter while Pentecost is mostly ignored. My goal is to present the case via scripture that Pentecost is the most important holiday of the church year. Let’s begin the journey to see if I succeed in supporting my hypothesis.
In the first two chapters of the book of Genesis Adam and Eve experienced the best that God had to offer. They only knew His goodness.
4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
10 And God called the dry land Earth, and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.
12 And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
18 And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.
21 And God created great whales and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
25 And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and everything that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
31 And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the six days.
They were living in paradise and in perfect harmony with God. Then God tells them the only rule for living in His paradise.
And the LORD God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
He said, “You can freely eat of all of the fruit in the garden except for the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you take this fruit and eat then on that day you shall die.” This was a simple straightforward commandment. Unfortunately, keeping this one commandment was not as easy as it seems.
In Genesis 3 the story unfolds revealing a new character in the plot.
1 Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made.
Subtil means cunning. We are going to see why the serpent is more cunning than all other beasts.
And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? 2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: 3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
The woman engages in a conversation with the serpent and answers his question. This is her first mistake. Then she proceeds to leave out a word (“freely eat” instead of “eat”), adds a new thought (“neither shall you touch it” which is never mentioned by God, and then changes a word (from “shall die” to “lest[perhaps] ye die”).
4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
Now the devil contradicts what God said with a blatant lie. God said, “You shall surely die” and the devil said, “You shall not surely die”.
The tension has peaked with the option to choose between two clear opposing statements.
5 For God, knows that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
Now the temptation is introduced. He tells them that they will be just like God after eating the fruit. They already knew good, but they were unaware of evil. This was about to change.
6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat . 7 And the eyes of them both were opened , and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig-leaves together, and made themselves aprons.
Adam and Eve considered the fruit and chose to believe what they saw and heard instead of obeying the commandment from God. This culminated in their loss of holy spirit which impacted their ability to communicate with God.
Holy Spirit in the Old Testament: The Setup
In John 16 verse Jesus Christ made a thought-provoking and unfathomable statement to his disciples.
7 Nevertheless, I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.
He expounds on this in verses 12 – 16 of this same chapter
12 I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. 13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come . 14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. 15 All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.
His instruction was that it was more profitable for them that he leaves than to stay because the spirit of truth would come and guide and show them the “all truth”.
They had spent years with the master, seen incredible miracles, and heard the purity of the Word of God. Now their life was going to be better with him gone. There was no way to understand this statement with human reasoning. And they did not understand or accept it.
After Jesus death, burial, and resurrection the disciples thought that the Jesus Experiment was over and returned to their previous lives. Peter, Thomas, and Nathaniel grab their nets and head for the boat.
John 21:3 Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth and entered into a ship immediately, and that night they caught nothing.
Also, the disciples desired to distance themselves from their association with Jesus Christ due to their fear of the Jews.
John 20:19 Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came to Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.
The “fear of the Jews” was a severe concern for the Israelite’s. This phrase is mentioned only two other times and they are both in the book of John
John 7:13 Howbeit no man spake openly of him [Jesus] for fear of the Jews.
John 19:38a And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews,
The “fear of the Jews” is a reference to a deep respect and concern for the influence and power of the Jewish leaders (Pharisees, Sadducees, and Lawyers). These leaders had the authority to isolate an Israelite from the Temple. This isolation extended to social and business matters.
Unfortunately, the Bible portrays these disciples — who had spent three and a half years with Jesus Christ — unchanged after his departure. They denied him, were in fear because of him, and wanted to return to their previous life as if they had never known him.
We celebrate Christ’s birth (Christmas) and his death/resurrection (Easter) but the result of these events left his disciples unchanged.
Come back for part 2, the climax of this story.