Summary: Peter, empowered by the Holy Spirit, steps up and delivers and epic message. Using scripture to show what was happening the people were cut to the heart and over 3000 were added. Are we adding to the church's numbers today??
June 4, 2017 – Pentecost
Today we celebrate Pentecost and I thought it would be good to pay a little visit to our friend, Peter. Earlier this year we spent some time looking at Peter and his time of ministry didn’t end with Jesus ascension. In many ways that is when it began. Peter began to emerge as a leader and we will see that on Pentecost he really steps up. So we take a little break from out Summer Series, “I Met Jesus” to look at Peter on Pentecost.
Go ahead and open your Bibles to Acts 2 and while you are turning there I need to give a little history lesson on Pentecost. You see there is a history and significance of this date before the pouring out of the Holy Spirit.
What does the word “Pentecost” mean?
The English word “Pentecost” is a transliteration of the Greek word pentekostos, which means “fifty.” It comes from the ancient Christian expression pentekoste hemera, which means “fiftieth day.”
But Christians did not invent the phrase “fiftieth day.” Rather, they borrowed it from Greek-speaking Jews who used the phrase to refer to a Jewish holiday. This holiday was known as the Festival of Weeks, or, more simply, Weeks (Shavuot in Hebrew). This name comes from an expression in Leviticus 23:16, which instructs people to count seven weeks or “fifty days” from the end of Passover to the beginning of the next holiday (pentekonta hemeras in the ancient Greek translation of the Hebrew Scripture).
Shavuot was the second great feast in Israel’s yearly cycle of holy days. It was originally a harvest festival (Exod 23:16), but, in time, turned into a day to commemorate the giving of the law on Mt. Sinai. This day became especially significant for Christians because, seven weeks after the resurrection of Jesus, during the Jewish celebration of Shavuot/Pentecost, the Holy Spirit was poured out upon his first followers, thus empowering them for their mission and gathering them together as a church.
Used with permission from Rev. Dr. Mark Roberts http://www.patheos.com/blogs/markdroberts/
This is significant to help us understand a little better what is all going on when the Holy Spirit is given. If you remember when Jesus ascended into heaven he told his disciples to not leave Jerusalem and to wait for the gift my Father promised, the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 1:4-5)
Ten days had passed since then. The disciples had selected Matthias to succeed Judas. They were meeting together in prayer and waiting. They were joined in Jerusalem by many others Jews from all over that were there to celebrate the Shavout or the Festival of Weeks.
It says that the disciples were all gathered together in one place on this day when this Feast was beginning. It was then the Holy Spirit comes and fills them. We know that it sounded like a rushing wind and that what seemed to be tongues of fire resting on them and then they began to speak in other tongues as the spirit enabled. As they were speaking it says that a crowd began to gather around them as they heard them speak in each of their own languages. They couldn’t figure it out because they were Galileans and they couldn’t possibly know all these different languages. Then some said that they were just drunk that they had been drinking too much wine.
That leads us to today’s passage in Act 2:14-40.
If you remember back in our time with Peter, Jesus called him Petra or the Rock. You will also remember that Peter most of the time acted very unrock like. We saw him begin to turn a corner at the ascension and we see him take a big step forward here.
As all the disciples are talking in different languages it is Peter who steps up above everyone else and gets their attention. He quickly puts to rest the naysayers who are just trying to dismiss this supernatural event as a bunch of guys that have had too much to drink.
Oh no, this was something big, this was the supernatural gift of the Holy Spirit that Jesus had told them was coming. This was from God. Just so no one got the wrong idea and believed those that were trying to dismiss what was happening. Peter explains that it is only nine in the morning. There is no way that they could be drunk. Not only was it early but it was a Holy Day and no one would eat or drink 9:00 am on a Holy Day if fact I don’t think they would eat or drink until noon so there was no way that they could be drunk. Remember the history lesson we had earlier, this was the Festival of Weeks, it was 50 days after Passover, it was a religious holiday of sorts.