And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.…
It is natural to assume a purpose in the Divine choice of the day on which the disciples were thus to receive the promise of the Father. That choice may have been determined, if one may so speak, either in view of the circumstances of the feast, or of its history and symbolic fitness.
1. Of all the feasts of the Jewish year it was that which attracted the largest number of pilgrims from distant lands. The dangers of travel by sea or land in the early spring or late autumn (cf. Acts 27:9) prevented their coming in any large numbers to the Passover. At no other feast would there have been representatives of so many nations. It was Pentecost that St. Paul went up to keep once and again, during his mission-work in Greece and Asia (Acts 18:21; Acts 20:16). So there was no time on which the gift of the Spirit was likely to produce such direct and immediate results.
2. Each aspect of the old Feast of Weeks, now known as Pentecost, or the "Fiftieth-day" Feast, presented a symbolic meaning which made it typical of the work now about to be accomplished.
(1) It was the "feast of harvest, the feast of the first-fruits"; and so it was meet that it should witness the first great gathering of the fields that were white to harvest (Exodus 23. 16).
(2) It was one on which, more than on any other, the Israelite was to remember that her had been a bondman in the land of Egypt, and had been led forth to freedom (Deuteronomy 16:12), and on it, accordingly, they were to do no servile work (Leviticus 23:31); and it was, therefore, a fit time for the gift of the Spirit, of whom it was emphatically true that "where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty" (2 Corinthians 3:17), and who was to guide the Church into the truth which should make men free indeed (John 8:32).
(3) It was a day on which sacrifices of every kind were offered — burnt-offerings, and sin-offerings, and meat-offerings, and peace-offerings — and so represented the consecration of body, soul, and spirit as a spiritual sacrifice (Leviticus 23:17-20).
(4) As on the Passover the first ripe sheaf of corn was waved before Jehovah as the type of the sacrifice of Christ, of the corn of wheat which is not quickened except it die (Leviticus 23:10; John 12:24), so on Pentecost two wave-loaves of fine flour were to be offered, the type, it may be, under the light now thrown on them, of the Jewish and the Gentile Churches (Leviticus 23:17). And these loaves were to be leavened, as a witness that the process of the contact of mind with mind, which — as the prohibition of leaven in the Passover ritual bore witness — is naturally so fruitful in evil, might yet, under a higher influence, become one of unspeakable good: the new life working through the three measures of meal until the whole was leavened (Matthew 13:33).
3. The Feast of Pentecost had — traditionally, at least — also a commemorative character. On that day — so it was computed by the later Rabbis, though the Book of Exodus (Exodus 19:1) seems to leave the matter in some uncertainty — the Israelites had encamped round Sinai, and there had been thunders, and darkness, and voices, and the great Laws had been proclaimed. It was, that is, an epoch-making day in the religious history of Israel. It was fit that it should be chosen for another great epoch-making day, which, seeming at first to be meant for Israel only, was intended ultimately for mankind.
Parallel VersesKJV: And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.