Summary: Pentecost. What does it mean to us and to the world?
Last week we took a look at the Trinity and how the Trinity was in existence from the beginning but only fully revealed after the Holy Spirit was given at Pentecost.
There are actually two Jewish connections to Pentecost:
Some scholars believe that the giving of the Law to Moses occurred 50 days after the Passover in Egypt.
Jesus was crucified as the “Passover Lamb” and rose from the grave at the Feast of Firstfruits. (the beginning of the barley harvest) Following His resurrection, Jesus spent the next 40 days teaching His disciples before ascending to heaven. Fifty days after His resurrection and after ascending to heaven to sit at the right hand of God the Father, Jesus sent the Holy Spirit as promised to indwell the disciples and empower them for ministry. The promised Holy Spirit arrived on the Day of Pentecost, which is another name for the Feast of Weeks.
“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.
“They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages as the Spirit enabled them.
“Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken.
“Utterly amazed, they asked: ‘Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia,
“Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism);
“’Cretans and Arabs - we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own languages.’ Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, ‘What does this mean?’
And that’s exactly the question we need to ask ourselves!
What does this mean???
First let’s see what it meant to them.
God was introducing the third and final person of the Trinity to carry on the work that had been initiated by the Father and advanced by the Son.
The disciples were bewildered - they were praying but didn’t know what to do next.
God’s timing was awesome as usual! It couldn’t have been better!
There were thousands and thousands of people with seeking hearts in Jerusalem for Pentecost or the Feast of Weeks; one of the three Pilgrimage Festivals.
They came from as far away as Rome (over 1,000 miles) and probably just as far from the area east of Jerusalem.
God gave multiple signs to validate the event
“Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.”
“They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.”
“All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages as the Spirit enabled them.”
People from 16 people groups
“…we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own languages!”
This was a multiple dimension miracle! The disciples were speaking in languages they did not know and each one in the crowd was hearing in their own native language!
When Peter started preaching he was most likely preaching in common Greek which was the trade language of the Roman Empire.
We do not know if the miracle of speaking in unknown languages and hearing in the native language was extended into this sermon or not.
But the power of the Holy Spirit was evident! Three thousand people were saved!
This was a one-time event just like the incarnation of Jesus!
Even in Pentecostal churches there are never services where there is a sound of mighty rushing wind from heaven, holy fire does not come into the place and separate into individual flames and come to rest on each person’s head, people do not speak in foreign languages they have never learned and foreigners present do not hear the proclamation of the Gospel in their own native languages.
I am not saying that they Holy Spirit is NOT present in their gatherings, I am just saying that the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost was the initial giving of the Holy Spirit from God the Father and that exact set of circumstances will never be duplicated.
But, all Christians and all Christian churches should earnestly seek the presence of the Holy Spirit in their lives and in every gathering of the church body.