Summary: A sermon for Pentecost.
Acts 2:1-21, 36-41
Time is ticking by.
It’s been seven weeks since Easter.
It’s been seven weeks since the Last Supper.
It’s been seven weeks since Jesus was arrested and led away to the house of the high priest.
It’s been seven weeks since Peter followed at a distance and sat down in the courtyard where a fire had been burning.
A servant girl recognized Peter that awful night.
“She looked closely at him and said: ‘This man was with [Jesus].’”
But Peter denied it: “I don’t know him,” he said.
With fear overtaking him, Peter continued to deny Jesus.
When he realized what he had done he went out of the courtyard and “wept bitterly.”
He was a coward, and he was a broken man.
He had denied his Lord and his friend.
He had promised Jesus he would never do that.
He had promised Jesus that he would go to the death for Him.
All the other disciples fled from Jesus that night as well.
A lot can happen in seven weeks.
Seven weeks ago, the religious rulers thought they had finally gotten rid of that “pesky Jesus.”
They thought this guy had been finished off when they crucified Him.
But now, their worst nightmare was coming true.
Jesus was now more alive than ever before—and not only that, He was all over the place—living and breathing in the lives of His believers as they were filled with the Holy Spirit.
Seven weeks after Jesus was put to death, 3,000 people joined Christ’s movement.
Within another few days or weeks that number would grow to 5,000.
Soon it would be in the 10’s of thousands.
Jesus would be everywhere.
And today, because of what God did by pouring out His Holy Spirit on a small group of fearful, backwater, nomadic, Galileans with little money, no political clout and not much education 2,000 years ago--we have a church on nearly every corner.
And Christianity is the largest religion in the entire world!!!
It spread like wildfire.
And people are still experiencing what Peter and the others experienced that very first Pentecost.
Ordinary people like you and me have life-changing experiences with the Lord.
We too see visions and dream dreams.
We too are used by God to move the church and this surrounding community a little closer to the great and glorious day of the Lord!!!
The Book of Acts testifies to the fact that the filling of people with the Holy Spirit is an ongoing gift; it’s not just a onetime event.
In our Scripture passage for this morning we are told that “When the day of Pentecost came…there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven.”
The reason for this is that Pentecost was one of the great festivals of the Jewish religion, and lots of people from out of town had come to celebrate and worship.
They were visitors who were multi-lingual, speaking the languages of their native lands.
Originally Pentecost was a harvest festival.
Remember what Jesus had said when He saw the crowds of people as He moved from one village to another?:
“The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.
Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”
In a real way, Pentecost is the answer to this prayer.
Pentecost was also the celebration of the giving of the Law to Moses and the Jewish people at Mount Sinai.
Now God is writing God’s Law on people’s hearts.
So, on the first Pentecost, seven weeks following the death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ…and just 10 days after Jesus Ascended back into heaven where He sits at the right hand of God the Father Jesus’ first followers “were all together in one place.”
They were praying.
And waiting for the coming of the Holy Spirit—which Jesus had promised them.
Jesus was about to transform them into what He always knew they could become.
“Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.
They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.
All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.”
The believers are speaking in the real languages of the people who have come to Jerusalem from all parts of the Middle East.
And each person is able to hear the Gospel preached to them in their own native language.
It’s kind of like a gathering at the United Nations where each delegate hears what is going on in his or her native tongue.
And so, the Word of God not only transcends all cultural barriers, but it comes in the particular language of each listener.