Summary: The arrival of the Holy Spirit during Pentecost was a turning point in the plan of God's great salvation of humanity. That event was not something that was done in secret but was announced with signs and wonders and with the salvation of 3000 souls!
Acts 2:1-13 (You can look this up now and we’ll read it later …)
The Lord is a GREAT planner. He chose to send the Holy Spirit when people from all over the Roman Empire and beyond would be in Jerusalem.
Why were they all coming to Jerusalem at that time?
“Three times a year all your men must appear before the LORD your God at the place He will choose: at the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the Festival of Weeks and the Festival of Tabernacles.
“No one should appear before the LORD empty-handed: Each of you must bring a gift in proportion to the way the LORD your God has blessed you.”
God’s amazing planning!
Jesus’ suffering and crucifixion took place during the Festival of Unleavened Bread or the Passover when all the men of Israel and converts “must appear before the Lord” at the place of His choosing, which was Jerusalem.
The giving of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost took place during the Festival of Weeks or the Feast of Harvest. This was another time when all the men of Israel and converts “must appear before the Lord” at the place of His choosing, which was Jerusalem.
God had called all of the Jewish men together so that they could witness the punishment and crucifixion of Jesus on our behalf.
God was calling all of the Jewish men together in order to make an announcement by the Holy Spirit through the apostles.
This was important. God needed witnesses to the sacrifice of Jesus for our sins and He needed witnesses to the arrival of the Holy Spirit. These two festivals provided just such a group of witness from vast areas of the Roman Empire.
First of all, who was there? Let’s flip back one page and look at
Acts 1:13b-14 NIV to discover what disciples were gathered together in obedience to Jesus' command ...
According to the very next verse there were only about 120 believers left.
Now, they’re not hiding anymore. They’ve spent 40 days with Jesus off and on since His bodily resurrection from the dead. He has provided many proofs that He really was alive and not some “ghost” walking among them. They have seen Him ascend into heaven and now they’re gathering in Jerusalem as they were instructed to do by Jesus.
OK, so, let’s go ahead and read Acts 2:1-13
First of all, God gets the attention of those in the city.
Acts 2:2 NIV
“Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.”
You’ve heard it said that a tornado sounds like a freight train and we’ve had some pretty windy days here in Arcade that rattled the house. Imagine if you were to hear that sound but not feel any wind. It just might get your attention, right?
And then, what’s happening inside the upper room? It’s hard to even imagine what the “tongues of fire” would look like. And, it wasn’t that a flame just popped up on top of each person’s head, but, the fire separated and came to rest on each person’s head.
Now, if that’s not crazy enough they all start speaking in languages they have never been able to speak before! They know what they’re saying because they are declaring the “wonders of God.”
This must have made quite a racket. The sound of a might rushing wind, the calamity of seeing everyone’s head on fire and the ability to speak in a language you’ve never spoken in before. And, all of this by 120 people who come pouring out of an upper room.
At the time of this Pentecost the common trade language was Koine Greek. Koine Greek was the common language or trade language used throughout the Roman Empire. It is quite certain that all of the Jews coming to Jerusalem for the Feast of Harvest would have spoken at least basic Koine Greek.
The apostles could have easily come from the upper room and proclaimed the wonders of God and salvation through Jesus in Koine Greek, but, we have a marvelous God who does wonderful things in unexpected ways.
So, let’s look at the fabulous language interactions going on in this Scripture:
The disciples are speaking in a variety of languages unknown to themselves.
The visitors to Jerusalem are all intermixed with each other.
Have you ever been in a place where lots of people are talking out loud at the same time? Even if they’re all speaking the same language it is difficult to decipher what any one person is saying.
But, in this case everyone is hearing and understanding what is being said not in some common trade language but in their very own native language and they are not necessarily standing by the disciple who is speaking their native language!