“When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting – Acts 2:1-2
This Sunday, 28th May, 2023 is Pentecost Sunday. On the day of Pentecost, seven weeks after the resurrection of Jesus, the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the followers of Jesus who had gathered together in Jerusalem.
What happened on the first Pentecost continues to happen to Christians throughout the world today. God pours out the Holy Spirit upon all who put their faith in Jesus Christ and become His disciples.
Pentecost was, highlighted by the filling of the Holy Spirit, as we read in Acts 2:1-39.
VERSE BY VERSE STUDY – ACTS 2:1-39:
Acts 2:1. Held 50 days after Passover, Pentecost was also called the Festival of First Harvest. It was one of three major festivals (Deuteronomy 16:16), a festival of thanksgiving for the harvested crops. Jesus was crucified at Passover time, and He ascended 40 days after His resurrection.
The Holy Spirit came 50 days after the Resurrection, 10 days after the Ascension. Jews of many nations had gathered in Jerusalem for this festival. Thus, Peter’s speech was given to an international audience, and it resulted in a worldwide harvest of new believers – the first converts to Christianity.
2:3,4.This was a fulfillment of John the Baptist’s words about the Holy Spirit’s baptizing with fire (Luke 3:16) and of the prophet Joel’s words about the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
“Then, after doing all those things, I will pour out my Spirit upon all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your old men will dream dreams, and your young men will see visions. In those days I will pour out my Spirit even on servants—men and women alike. – Joel 2:28, 29.
Why tongues of fire? Tongues symbolize speech and the communication of the Good News. Fire symbolizes God’s purifying presence, which burns away the undesirable elements of our lives and sets our hearts aflame to ignite the lives of others. On Mount Sinai, God confirmed the validity of the Old Testament law with fire from heaven.
At Pentecost, God confirmed the validity of the Holy Spirits’ ministry by sending fire. At Mount Sinai, fire came down on one place; at Pentecost, fire came down on many believers, symbolizing that God’s presence is available to all who believe in Him.
2:3-4.God made His presence known to this group of believers in a spectacular way – roaring wind, fire and His Holy Spirit. Would you like God to reveal Himself to you in such recognizable ways? He may do so, but be wary of forcing your expectations on God. In 1 Kings 19:10-13, Elijah also needed a message from God.
First came a great wind, then an earthquake, and finally a fire. But God’s message came in a “gentle whisper”. God may use dramatic methods to work in your life – or He may speak in gentle whispers. Wait patiently and always listen.
2:4-11. These people literally spoke in other languages as the Spirit gave them ability – a miraculous attention-getter for the international crowd gathered in town for the festival. All the nationalities represented recognized their own languages being spoken.
More than miraculous speaking drew people’s attention, however; they saw the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. The apostles continued to minister in the Holy Spirit’s power wherever they went.
2:7-8. Christianity is not limited to any race or group of people. Christ offers salvation to all people without regard to nationality. Visitors in Jerusalem were surprised to hear the apostles and other believers speaking in languages other than their own, but they need not have been.
God works all kinds of miracles to spread the Good News, using many languages as He calls all kinds of people to become His followers. No matter what your race, colour, nationality or language, God speaks to you. Are you listening?
2:9-11. Why are all these places mentioned? This is a list of many lands from which Jews had come to the festivals in Jerusalem. These Jews were not originally from Palestine because their ancestors had been dispersed to other parts of the world through captivities and persecutions. Very likely, some of the Jews who responded to Peter’s message returned to their homelands with God’s Good News of salvation.
Thus, God prepared the way for the spread of the good News. As you read Acts, you will see how the way was often prepared for Paul and other messengers by people who had become believers at Pentecost. The church at Rome, for example, was probably begun by such Jewish believers.
2:12. When the gathered crowd recognized that something supernatural was taking place, they naturally wanted an explanation. At this point, Peter stepped forward and explained the truth about God.
This should be the pattern in our lives as well. Hopefully we are living in such a way that people will see Christ in us. If we do shine and sparkle and if we are “salty”, we will get the attention of others.
They will surely want to know what is so attractive and different about us. Then we can explain our “Christian hope”. What is different about your life? What supernatural evidence would cause someone to stop you and say, “What can this mean?”
2:37. After Peter’s powerful, Spirit-filled message, the people were deeply moved and asked, “What should we do?” This is the basic question we must ask. It is not enough to be sorry for our sins. We must repent, ask God to forgive us, and then we live like forgiven people.
Has God spoken to you through His Word or through the words of another believer? Like Peter’s audience, ask God what you should do, and then obey.
2:38-39. If you want to follow Christ, you must “repent of your sins, turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.” To repent means to turn from sin, to change the direction of your life from selfishness and rebellion against God’s law.
At the same time, you must turnto Christ, depending on Him for forgiveness, mercy, guidance, and purpose. We cannot save ourselves – only God can save us. Baptism identifies us with Christ and with the community of believers. It is a condition of discipleship and sign of faith.
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