Summary: “When the day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.”Acts 2:1, 4
Theme: The gifts of the Spirit
The “coming” of the Holy Spirit is a key event at the beginning of the Book of Acts and sets the stage for what is to follow. Just as the ministry of Jesus in the Book of Luke begins with His birth, so also His ministry through the church in the Book of Acts begins with the coming of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. Pentecost simply means “fiftieth” since it fell on the fiftieth day after the resurrection of Christ. With the presence of the Holy Spirit, a veil was taken away to reveal the prophetic significance of Pentecost. The Jews suddenly saw their whole Jewish heritage in a new light. Not only were the Jewish festivals memorials of what God had done but they also pointed to something God was going to do. These festivals, instituted by Moses under direct instructions from God, are a divinely prepared Timetable of God’s Dealings with His people and mankind. They show us how God dealt with His people in the past, what He wanted them to do in the present, and how He would work with them in the future. They present and reveal an outline for the work of Jesus Christ. Passover commemorated the deliverance of Israel from slavery in Egypt and found its final fulfilment in the death of Christ on Calvary as the Lamb of God. The feast of first fruits, the ceremony of presenting the first fruits of the harvest to the Lord, found its fulfilment in the resurrection of Christ Who “became the first fruits of them that slept. The Feast of weeks, held fifty days after Passover, was observed in celebration of the first ingathering of the harvest of each year. It was no coincidence that on the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was given, there was an amazing harvest of souls. The great harvest which began on the day of Pentecost, continues today, and will continue until the end of the Church age when the prophetic aspects of the remaining festivals will be fulfilled. On the day of Pentecost Christ filled the Church with the gifts of the Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is the only One Who can take the weak and make them strong as happened on the day of Pentecost. But different people have different ideas of who the Holy Spirit is. The Bible teaches that He is a person. Jesus spoke of Him as a Person saying in John 14:26 “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.” The Holy Spirit is not a force or a thing. He is a person and the Scriptures confirm this by the personal ways in which He responds and the personal things He does. The Bible also makes it clear that the Holy Spirit is God and we rightfully speak of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. This is seen in the attributes, which are given to Him and which are without exception, the attributes of God. He is eternal, omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient. We all need the Holy Spirit. Whatever the Holy Spirit did when He came at Pentecost, He is still willing and able to do for all believers today. Everywhere the early Christians went they made a spiritual impact on the whole community winning many people to Christ. We also need Him to make a spiritual impact in our communities.
To understand Pentecost we need to see it in the light of Babel. At Babel, an ambitious people wanted to build a great city with a big tower but God confused their tongues and scattered them. At Pentecost, the disciples preached the good news of Jesus in all the languages of the world. Two completely opposite events, at Babel God created confusion and scattered, and at Pentecost, He created order and gathered. At Babel, the diversity of tongues brought an end to the ambitions of men. At Pentecost, a diversity of tongues marked the beginning of the preaching of the good news of Jesus to the nations of the world. At Babel the people wanted to reach to the heavens, to be famous, and to control their future destiny. They wanted to be like God, and they used their skill and know how to do it. Baked bricks and tar was the key to their fame and future, much the same way people today speak of computers, the Internet, cell phones, and genetic engineering. Today we are using technology to be “like God,” to declare independence from God, to make a name, and to control the future. The movie Titanic is about man’s misplaced trust in his own inventions and ingenuity. It was claimed at the start of the voyage that not even God could sink the Titanic. They were so confident that they did not even carry a enough life rafts to cater for all the passengers. The latest technology assured them that the ship was unsinkable. And yet, ironically, the very technology that made the Titanic "unsinkable," made her sink even faster. There is nothing wrong with technology, just as there is nothing wrong with baked bricks, tar, and tall towers. It is what we do with them and why we build them. When our faith, hope, and trust is in our tools, when we use our technology to reach up to the heavens, to amass fame and fortune, to seize control of our destiny and shake our fist at God, then we are committing idolatry. Technology is to help us through life but we should not put our trust in it because it cannot save us. Our tools and toys can not bring us to heaven; they can’t secure our destinies. Only God can do that. Only He can reach down to us to help us and He did this by giving us the gift of His Son and the Holy Spirit.