1 When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all assembled together in one place. 2 Suddenly, there came from heaven a sound similar to that of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were sitting. 3 Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which separated and came to rest on each one of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different languages,[c] as the Spirit enabled them to do so.
5 Now staying in Jerusalem there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven. 6 At this sound, a large crowd of them gathered, and they were bewildered because each one heard them speaking in his own language.
7 They were astounded and asked in amazement, “Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans? 8 How is it then that each of us hears them in his own native language?
So many things happen around the octave of Easter that it’s easy to be overwhelmed and miss the important and deeply rich events.
Pentecost (Hebrew Shavuot, Greek pentekoste fiftieth) was an annual Jewish festival marking the end of the barley harvest and the beginning of the wheat. It is also called “the day of the first ripe fruits” (Numbers 28:26), and in the Greek Scriptures is the name used for the Feast of Harvest (Exodus 11:16) or Feast of Weeks (Exodus 34:22). Shavuot unfolded ‘seven full weeks after Passover from 16 Nisan, the day when they offered a sheaf of barley (Leviticus 11:15).
According to Jewish tradition, the day of Pentecost correspond to when the law was given to Moses at Sinai and Israel became a people apart. The apostle Paul draws a comparison of this event by saying that the Christians are a ‘holy nation’ (1 Peter 2: 9) a kind of first fruits to God (John 1:18), met on a heavenly Mount Zion as part of a new covenant (Hebrews 12: 18-24; Luke 22:20).
Jean Restout II’s Pentecost is currently housed in the Louvre (room 924, Sully Wing, Level 2), but was originally painted for the Abbey of Saint-Denis which is outside of Paris and is definitely a painting you should see if you get a chance. Click below for a bigger image.