According to the book of Acts, the Church came into being on the day of Pentecost. As 120 worshippers, including the Disciples, were fasting and praying in an upper room in Jerusalem, the Holy Spirit descended upon them in a violent rushing wind that was heard throughout the city. Small flames of fire rested upon their heads, and they began to speak in other languages. As crowds came to investigate the commotion, the Apostle Peter spoke to them about Jesus and exhorted them to repent. From the crowd of Jews and converts, 3,000 realized the truth of his words and became followers of Jesus. Pentecost takes place 50 days after Easter Sunday.
For Christians around the world, Easter marks the culmination of the work of Jesus Christ: His Resurrection. The Bible states that the penalty for our Sin is death. Jesus took the penalty of our Sin upon Himself by dying on the cross. Good Friday is the day Christians around the world commemorate Jesus’ sacrificial act of selfless love which saved us from our Sin. On the third day after He died and was buried, Jesus resurrected! And so today we celebrate Easter Sunday! A traditional greeting used in churches on Easter Sunday is, “Alleluia, Christ is risen!” “He is risen indeed, Alleluia!” His rising from the dead was attested to by many witnesses who interacted with Jesus in the 40 days following His Resurrection. In rising from death, Jesus proved that His payment for our Sin was more than adequate. It also proved that Death has been beaten! It is this triumph over Sin and Death which Christians celebrate each Easter.
The Wise Men or Magi who brought gifts to the child Jesus were the first Gentiles to acknowledge Jesus as “King” and so were the first to “show” or “reveal” Jesus to a wider world as the incarnate Christ. This act of worship by the Magi, which corresponded to Simeon’s blessing that this child Jesus would be “a light for revelation to the Gentiles” (Luke 2:32), was one of the first indications that Jesus came for all people, of all nations, of all races, and that the work of God in the world would not be limited to only a few. The day is now observed as a time of focusing on the mission of the church in reaching others by “showing” Jesus as the Savior of all people. It is also a time of focusing on Christian community and fellowship, especially in healing the divisions that we all too often create between God’s children.