Summary: What a day!!! In all of the history of humanity there was never a more important few weeks than the time that passed between the suffering of Jesus on our behalf and the arrival of the Holy Spirit. It is almost too great an event to tell as it cannot be given the justice it deserves!
Pentecost - The Church Is Born!
Today we will be reading from Acts 2:1-13
Last Sunday we took a look at a combination of Jesus’ ascension into Heaven and the Holy Spirit being given to all of humanity on the Day of Pentecost.
In doing so we contrasted the work of God in the Old Testament and the New Testament.
- O.T. -counselor the Law
o Rabbis and Scribes - teaching the law
o Pharisees - creating new laws (traditions) to reinforce the law itself was the counselor
- The N.T. - Counselor = the Holy Spirit
o Present and working throughout the world
o Convicting us of sin
o Calling us to repentance and salvation
o Living within us after salvation
o Guiding and directing our thoughts and actions
o Leading us to live holy lives
- O.T. mediator - the priest
o Offering sacrifices for our sins
o No office of the priesthood found in the N.T.
? Prophets, apostles, evangelists, preachers, teachers, elders, deacons (Eph. 4:11 / 1 Tim. 5:17 / 1 Tim. 3:8)
? No need to go through a human priest (don’t exist)
o Jesus is the One and Only High Priest
o Jesus is the Perfect Sacrifice that was sufficient for all
O.T. The God of Israel
- Shrouded in mystery
- Known only through the Torah
N.T. The God of Israel
- Revealed through Jesus
- Knowable through the Holy Spirit
So, today we are taking a closer look at the difference between the activities of the Holy Spirit in the OT and how He works in the world since the day of Pentecost.
We see the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament, too but it was different. The Holy Spirit would move into and out of the life of a person to perform certain actions. Sometimes the person would be a righteous person such as Joshua (Numbers 27:18) or David (1 Samuel 16:12-13). But, we also see the Holy Spirit enabling such people as Samson and some of the other judges who were living unrighteous lives. He did this in spite of them in order to accomplish His plans and purposes.
But, at Pentecost the Holy Spirit was given in a much more expansive way.
So … just HOW did the Holy Spirit of God arrive???
Let’s read Acts 2:1-13
(Prayer for help)
What an amazing event!!!
The Jews of that time were coming to Jerusalem for Pentecost, the celebration of the early harvest!
You know that quite often before we receive the tithes and offerings for the week we read a Scripture about bringing in the “first fruits” of the harvest. That is literally what these people who were coming into Jerusalem were doing.
They were celebrating the Goodness of the Lord in the abundance of the early wheat harvest. In Exodus 23:16 they were commanded to, “Celebrate the Festival of Harvest with the firstfruits of the crops you sow in your field.”
So, here are people from at least fifteen different nations who spoke at least fifteen different languages and all of them are following the command of Yahweh the Lord God of Israel.
Imagine yourself trudging along through the narrow streets of Jerusalem with the first fruits of your field. You may have done this many times over many years.
Suddenly there is the sound of a mighty rushing wind but there is no wind.
And then, the 120 men and women in the upper room (Acts 1:13) saw, “what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.”
Then, all 120 of them come pouring out of the building, “declaring the wonders of God.” (Acts 2:11)
And finally, the entire crowd from over 15 nations who were around the building heard them, “declaring the wonders of God in (their) own languages!” (Acts 2:11)
WOW!!! Just try to imagine that!
You would expect that if you were trying to tell a big crowd from 15 different countries about something great that happened you might try speaking in a trade-language that they would all understand, right?
Not so! All of the followers of Jesus are speaking in a language they do not know. And, every listener is hearing in their own language! And, to compound the situation, just imagine if you were to hear 120 people speaking different languages all at once it would be the sound of chaos! But it wasn’t …
Now, imagine that they are not just speaking but are almost shouting! I mean, there has been the sound of a mighty wind with no wind and they have seen fire on their heads and they are filled with the Holy Spirit of God!
How on earth did anyone understand anything that was being said?