During the last six months, most excellent Blog Readers, I have carefully researched the Christian Liturgical Calendar and have written an orderly account of the Christian Holy Days celebrated during the year. These special times in the year are celebrated all over the world, by Christians everywhere, to give all glory and honor and praise to Jesus Christ, God‘s Only Son and Savior of the world. We first went through the four weeks of the ADVENT SEASON to prepare our hearts to celebrate Jesus’ First Coming into the world as a baby on CHRISTMAS. During the Advent Season, we also anticipate Jesus’ Second Coming as our Lord and King. We ended the Twelve Days of Christmas be celebrating EPIPHANY SUNDAY.
We then celebrated the forty days of LENT, beginning with ASH WEDNESDAY, at which time we practiced the disciplines of prayer and fasting, the reading of Scripture passages telling us about Christ’s sufferings and death, to free us free from sin and death. We also used our time and money to care for the needs of others. The culmination of the Season of LENT is HOLY WEEK [the last week of Jesus’ life before He was crucified] and MAUNDY THURSDAY, at which time we remember Jesus’ New Mandate to “Love one another” as Jesus loves us (See John 13:34-34) and we celebrate the Lord’s Last Supper “in remembrance of Me [Jesus]” (See Luke 22:19) and “the Lord’s death until He comes [again]” (See I Corinthians 11:26). MAUNDY THURSDAY ended the Season of LENT.
Next comes GOOD FRIDAY, the day Jesus died for the sins of the world. Jesus took MY place and YOUR place on the cross to MAGNIFY His Father’s LOVE for US by washing our sins away with His atoning sacrifice (See John 3:16 and I John 2:2). After two days of quiet reflection and prayer, Christians everywhere REJOICE and CELEBRATE and break out the trumpets and tambourines and drums, on RESURRECTION SUNDAY because “It is true! The LORD HAS RISEN!” (See Luke 24:33). CHRIST HAS RISEN INDEED!
In the last month, most excellent Blog readers, I wrote to you about how Jesus appeared to His disciples to prepare them for “The Great Commission” (See Matthew 28:18-20). He stayed with them for forty days, then “He was taken up before [the disciples‘] very eyes, and a cloud hid Him from their sight” (See Acts 1:9). After Jesus ascended into heaven, two angels assured the disciples, “This same Jesus, Who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen Him go into heaven” (See Acts 1:11). With this, the disciples waited in Jerusalem as Jesus told them to do. Ten days later, as Jesus promised, on the day of PENTECOST, the Holy Spirit came and filled the disciples’ hearts and they were FIRED UP and God gave birth to the Christian Church! The disciples were able to communicate the GOOD NEWS of Jesus Christ in different languages and with boldness (See Acts 2).
The disciples were no longer afraid of anything. For example, Peter, who was known to have “foot-in-mouth disease”, spoke clearly and with conviction. He addressed a large crowd by quoting the prophet Joel: “In the last days, God says, ‘I will pour out My Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on My servants, both men and women, I will pour out My Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy…And everyone who calls on the Name of the Lord will be saved” (Acts 2:17-18, 21 and See Joel 2:28-32). Peter also used Psalms 16 and 110 as proof that Jesus was the awaited Messiah and told of Jesus’ miracles and wonders and signs, and how He was crucified and rose from the dead. Peter urged everyone, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the Name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off – for all whom the Lord our God will call” (Acts 2:38-39). After Peter’s message to the crowd, “Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day” (Acts 2:41). What happened to Peter? Peter was filled the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit empowered him to speak about Jesus with boldness. The Holy Spirit also enabled Peter to remember Scripture. It was the Holy Spirit, working in Peter, Who added three thousand believers to their number and thus began the body of Christ on earth – the Christian Church.
What was the “baby” Christian Church like? The Book of Acts tells us: “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:42-47). The early Church was filled and controlled by the Holy Spirit – the Spirit of Unity. The early Church was a body of believers in Jesus Christ who wanted to like Him: “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit – just as you are called to one hope when you were called – one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of us all” (Ephesians 4:2-5).
In the interest of unity, most excellent Blog Readers, I neglected to mention the Eastern Church, so I am doing that now, along with one more bit of information:
“In the Eastern Church, Pentecost can also refer to the whole fifty days between Easter and Pentecost; hence the book containing the liturgical texts for Paschaltide is called the Pentecostarion. The feast is also called White Sunday, or Whitsun, especially in England, where the following Monday was traditionally a public holiday. Pentecost is celebrated seven weeks (50 days) after Easter, hence its name. Pentecost falls on the tenth day after Ascension Thursday.
The Pentecostal movement of Christianity derives its name from the New Testament event.” (From Wikipedia)
Who is the Holy Spirit, why did He come and what does He do? Jesus says this:
“But the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, Standby), Whom the Father will send in My Name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things. And He will cause you to recall – will remind you of, bring to your remembrance – everything I have told you” (John 14:26; The Amplified Bible).
Where do you see the Holy Spirit working? How does the Holy Spirit work? These questions, most excellent Blog Reader, will be discussed in my next writing to you.
(I hope no one was offended with my creative writing and having fun with writing in the same way Luke wrote to “most excellent Theophilus” in Luke 1 and Acts 1. I do not, in any way believe my writing equals the Holy Scriptures. I was just having a little fun, as I am known to occasionally do.)
Your Humble Servant,
(There wasn’t any traffic in this small coastal Oregon town and there was no sidewalk to get to where we wanted to go, so my two sisters a I traveled down the middle of the beautifully paved road. We did move for a large delivery truck.)