When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.Acts 2:1-4
“When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.” There is some snarky, dad-joke-loving part of me that reads the beginning of the Pentecost story and thinks, “Wow, that’s amazing that they all knew to get together for a Pentecost celebration before they even knew Pentecost was going to be a thing!”*
But of course, it wasn’t just coincidence that the first believers were all gathered in one place where the Holy Spirit could conveniently find them. They were actually gathered to celebrate the Jewish Festival of Weeks, called Shavuot. Shavuot is a celebration of the giving of the law to the ancient Israelites on Mount Sinai. It takes place fifty days after the Passover – a week of weeks, plus a day – and “pentecost,” which comes from the Greek for “fiftieth,” takes its name from this fifty days, since Pentecost likewise occurs fifty days after Easter Sunday.