The month of May has a ton of holidays in it. Mother’s Day and Memorial Day are the ones that quickly come to mind. And then there is Cinco De Mayo and even Star Wars Day (where fans love to say “May the Fourth Be With You!”). There are even crazy holidays like International Tuba Day (May 6), Frog Jumping Day (May 13), and Tap Dance Day (May 25). Yes, those are real holidays!
While the first two holidays I mentioned really matter, the rest of those holidays can fly right by on most of our calendars with no negative repercussions. Yet, there is one more holiday in May that could easily fly by as well, but shouldn’t: the day of Pentecost (May 15).
When I grew up going to church I always thought there were just “The Big 3” when it came to Christian holidays: Christmas, Good Friday, and Easter. Those 3 days take front and center on our calendars. And they should. We can’t imagine treating December 25th like any other day, then waking up on December 26th and thinking, “Wasn’t Christmas around this time of year?”
But that is exactly what happens when it comes to Pentecost. Pentecost has become the forgotten holiday on the Christian calendar, when in reality it ought to make The Big 3 into The Big 4.
When it comes to Christmas, Good Friday, and Easter I have heard various pastors and Christian authors argue about which of those events associated with the life of Jesus is the most important. And I have heard arguments about how each one trumps the other two.
To me, that is like trying to argue which side of a triangle is the most important. 🙂
When it comes to a triangle you need all 3 sides in order for the shape to be a triangle. And when it comes to our spiritual journey, all of those events of Jesus’ life are “must haves”: His birth AND His death AND His resurrection… AND His ascension.
After all, when Jesus rose from the dead He didn’t keep walking the earth for the rest of His existence. He rose from the dead and then 40 days later He ascended to Heaven.
You might wonder, what’s the big deal about that? Here is the answer, straight from the mouth of Jesus: “But now I am going away to the one who sent me . . . in fact, it is best for you that I go away, because if I don’t, the Advocate won’t come. If I do go away, then I will send him to you” (John 16:5,7 NLT).
The “Advocate” is another name for the Holy Spirit. Jesus was saying He needed to leave earth and ascend to Heaven SO THAT the Holy Spirit would come. In fact, Jesus said it was better that He left earth instead of sticking around.
Think about that for a moment.
According to our Lord and Savior, if you had two options — EITHER an “in the flesh” Jesus remaining on earth for the past 2,000 years OR sending the Holy Spirit — Jesus chooses option B.
So the fact that the Holy Spirit was going to come was a big, big deal. And the way God sovereignly orchestrated things was to have the Holy Spirit come to earth on one particular day: Pentecost.
The day of Pentecost as recorded in Acts 2 is the day everything changed. It’s the day the Holy Spirit came in power. It’s the day the Holy Spirit filled every believer. In fact, it’s considered the birthday of the church!
So I have a crazy dream. I pray that the day of Pentecost would be viewed by Christians at The Eastside Vineyard and by Christians across the country as being as big of a deal as Christmas, Good Friday, and Easter.
That it would be a “can’t miss” day to go to church. That it would be a day where we reflect on the role the Holy Sprit has in our lives. That it would be a day when we read our Bibles and see what happened back in the days of the early church and we passionately pray that those things would happen again in our day.
***Praying for Pentecost.” That’s the title of my sermon this Sunday. Please join us at The Eastside Vineyard Church as we celebrate this “forgotten holiday” on the Christian calendar. May 15th. 10:30am. More info at tevchurch.org***