Summary: Part 4 in looking at Jesus our King. We see Him at Pentecost as the Triumphant King, giving us victory to get back up.
Acts 2:1-36 – You’ve Got to Get Up
One day a farmer’s donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally he decided the animal was old and the well needed to be covered up anyway, it just wasn’t worth it to retrieve the donkey So he invited all his neighbors to come over and help him. They all grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well. At first, the donkey realized what was happening and cried horribly. Then, to everyone’s amazement, he quieted down. A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked down the well and was astonished at what he saw. With every shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing. He would shake it off and take a step up. As the farmer’s neighbors continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up. Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and trotted off!
Now, the moral of the story is this: Life is going to shovel all kinds of dirt on you. The trick to getting out of the well is to shake it off and take a step up. God designed each of our troubles to be a stepping stone. We can get out of the deepest wells just by not stopping, not giving up! Shake it off and take a step up! To pick us up again is one of the reasons why the Holy Spirit was sent to be with us – to bring us victory. Turn with me to Acts 2.
Today is Pentecost Sunday. There is so much that can be said about this day, a memorial to the day the Holy Spirit was first poured out on all believers. I want to avoid having too many points to remember, and avoid being pointless. So, I’ll narrow my thoughts today to what Jesus had to do with Pentecost. After all, we are going through a series looking at what kind of a King our Jesus is. Today, we will see He is our Triumphant King!
First, the background. Pentecost is a Greek word meaning “fifty”. It was also a Jewish holiday, celebrated 7 weeks plus 1 day after Passover – 7 7’s plus 1 is 50. It was a celebration of the harvest, and faithful Jews from all over the known world gathered to Jerusalem to rejoice. It was also 7 weeks to the day after Jesus’ resurrection, and the disciples had been praying together in a room for the last 10 days. This was the setting of Acts 2. Earlier in the service we read v1-4, and Peter’s commentary on the scene in v16-21, quoting the OT prophet Joel. Now we pick up the scene in v22-36.
Now, as I studied this passage this week, I asked myself, what’s the connection? I mean, I always thought Pentecost was about the Holy Spirit – when the Spirit was poured out into all believers, not just onto the occasional believer. But after commenting on what the mass of Jewish pilgrims were seeing and hearing, Peter spends most of his time preaching about Jesus. What’s the connection?
Well first, let’s see what Peter says about Jesus. He’s fairly point blank, to the point of running the risk of offending his listeners. Oh if only today’s preachers were as bold as Peter was, and if only today’s laypeople could handle hearing the truth as those early listeners. Anyway, Peter starts off in v22 by saying that Jesus was a man approved by God, that God publicly endorsed him. Jesus was a man sent by God. His miracles were God-approved.
Peter goes in v23 to say that Jesus was handed over to sinful to be put to death. Well, not just to sinful men, but to the listeners as well. It was after all Jews and Romans who approved of Jesus’ death. But it goes beyond that as well. Jesus’ death was God’s plan. He thought of it long before any human eye had ever seen Jesus.
Then, Peter continues with what would prove to be the bulk of his sermon: Jesus’ resurrection. He takes 9 verses to describe Jesus’ rising from the dead. I love v24 – “It was impossible for death to keep its hold on Him.” Someone once called Him our Great Getting-up-Again God! The NLT says “death could not keep Him in its grip.” The Good News says “it was impossible that death should hold him prisoner.” And The Message Bible reads this way: “God untied the death ropes and raised Him up. Death was no match for Him.” You see? Jesus met death, our greatest enemy, head on. And He won. So, for the Christian, death is not a thing to be feared, but a gate to lead us face to face with Jesus. A believer does not need to be afraid of death, because its sting is gone. Thanks be to Jesus.