Summary: Pentecost: the people, the phenomena, the power (for praise and proclamation)

Pentecost WBC 19/5/2 am Acts 2:1-21

Pentecost is the middle of 3 annual Jewish ‘Harvest Festivals’

= the ‘grain harvest’

- called ‘Pentecost’ as is 7 weeks (or 50 days… hence ‘Pente’) after Passover

- the previous Jewish Festival which commemorates their Exodus from Egypt, and the Passover lamb that was slain)

So- had to do with Harvest Festival

Also- had BECOME a celebration of the giving of the law at Mt Sinai

- = supposed to have happened 50 days after Passover

Some make big links between these two aspects of the festival and what happened here:

- harvest (3000 saved!)

- law giving Jer 31:33 "I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts.

- And as the law was given on Sinai with Earthquake, wind, fire, angelic voices

- So, here, we have wind, fire, tongues

Others: particularly Pentecostals, make a similar connection between the ‘revival’, seen here, the giving of the ‘word’ (ie Mt Sinai) and the Spirit

- in that we will see similar ‘awakenings’ when the word and the Spirit come together

The understanding of Pentecost linking harvest and law (but now it’s inside as Jeremiah promised) is a real possibility, here

- This is the fulfilment of so many OT passages of promise

And the balance… power of word and Spirit IS what God want’s as well

- like a train on two tracks

And though Peter (or Luke) don’t expand on these links

- chrysostom (347-407 Bishop) did

- "the time was come to put in the sickle of the word; for here, as the sickle, keen edged, came the Spirit down’

THIS is where the harvest began. This is where things changed gear. This is where the change (INSIDE!) started

- the transforming power of the HS


Who are the people involved in this?:

= the 120

- in the upper room? Dunno

- whatever: all together. A sense of unity, expectancy, waiting

and 3000 (plus!) others

- an international community of Jews. Devout. Serious. God-fearing Jews … on pilgrimage

- need to understand, these were 3000 Jews who had been waiting to be converted all their life! God had brought them to this point

- (may want 3000 to be converted in one day, here- but culturally it’s a bit different!)

- man! God certainly knows when to send His HS, eh? Kairos moment! Opportune time!

- They were from ‘every nation under heaven’

- Doesn’t mean Aborigines and Native Americans were there

- = from all the graeco-roman world. Their world

- it’s important to Luke’s readers that they understand the diversity of these folks backgrounds

- as they will then understand the miracle of the event that happens

- so he goes on to record the nationalities present (to emphasise the diversity)

- parthians, medes, elamites – folks from the West, scattered there during 8CBC Assyrian exile and 6CBC Babylonian exile

- Asia minor, Turkey

- N Africa. Egypt (where they left 15CBC)

- Rome

… from the whole of the Diaspora. Where the Jews had been scattered/dispersed over centuries of trouble/persecution

Why is this important?

Well- the nature of the phenomena Luke emphasises tells us


There is

- wind (or something that sounds like that), here

- => power… I reckon

- fire (or something that seems like that), here

- => purity (cf JTB ‘Baptise with HS & fire.. winnowing fork in his hand. Is 6- the coal that symbolises purity)

- other things? Accusation of drunkenness? We’re not sure what they were

- but it teaches us not to try and nail things down. Unusual things might happen when the HS’s around

- anyway: Peter explains- the pubs aren’t even open, yet

- and people would fast before morning service at this festival, anyway

- so, just as well we’re not told what these phenomena were (or we’d have denomination or ‘manufacturing’ built on them’

- but it’s a great way of getting a crowd! God’s PR!

But the main phenomena he unpacks is

- tongues

- = a word called ‘glossolalia” (either: ‘languages’ or ‘tongues’)

In fact: there are two miracles happening here wrt tongues

- 1= the miracle of speech. The fact that they can speak these words

- Galilleans were not known for their linguistic ability

- Couldn’t even speak their own language properly, apparently!

- Dropped syllables

… yet alone other languages

- looked down on by Jerusalem people as ‘provincial backwater’

- not surprising God chose them (like the shepherds!)

2nd= A miracle of hearing. The fact that they can be understood by the hearers

- each of them hearing in their OWN language

Some would say “they were speaking gibberish and hearers only imagined they heard one or two words that sounded like praise in their new language”

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