"But the Holy Spirit will come upon you and give you power. Then you will tell everyone about me in Jerusalem, in all Judea, in Samaria, and everywhere in the world.” (CEV) Acts 1:8
The story of Pentecost is an important part of God’s big story. Some people, however, may not understand the meaning of this traditional Christian celebration. As we teach our children about the ministry of Jesus, we can’t forget Pentecost. Before Jesus ascended to heaven, he gave the disciples one major instruction—wait and witness.
Ask these guiding questions to help your children understand the blessing Christ gave in the Holy Spirit.
Why did Jesus leave?
Jesus’ return to heaven was the sign that his earthly ministry was at an end. Christ had accomplished what he had been sent into the world to do—provide salvation to the lost. He was fully God and still fully man, and it was time to return to his glory (Hebrews 2:14-15). Now that Jesus is in heaven, he calls us to continue the ministry he started. The Holy Spirit gives us the power we need to do the work.
Why did God send the Holy Spirit?
When Jesus ascended to heaven, he did not leave his disciples on their own. He sent the Holy Spirit to be with them and guide them. God loves us too much to leave us alone and not equip us to do our work (Acts 1:8). The Holy Spirit is here also to teach us and remind us of what Christ did and said (John 14:26, John 15:26).
Who is the Holy Spirit?
The Holy Spirit is the third person in the Trinity. He is God. He is the Comforter and Counselor Jesus promised would come (John 14:16). The Holy Spirit has been present from the beginning of creation and throughout the Bible.
How do I explain the tongues that looked like fire?
Fire is a concept used throughout the Bible to symbolize God’s presence. In the Old Testament, God appeared to Moses in the burning bush (Exodus 3:2). The pillar of fire represented God’s presence in the wilderness with the Israelites (Exodus 13:21-22). Fire was a symbol of purification, like purifying metal. To purge silver, a silversmith uses heat to remove impurities. God uses the Holy Spirit to help remove our sins and make us clean (Psalm 66:10).
At Pentecost, the “tongues like fire” were an assurance of God’s presence. Christ told them they would receive power to be his witnesses throughout the world. The ability to speak in different languages allowed the apostles to spread the message as Christ had instructed them.
We can help our children when we understand how God continues his story at Pentecost. God is powerful. God is loving and provides. The Holy Spirit is God and he is here to help us.