The disciples have gathered in Jerusalem, awaiting the “baptism [with] the Holy Spirit” that Jesus had promised in Acts 1:5. It is Pentecost, the 50th day after the Sabbath of Passover week (which was also the day Jesus was resurrected). Jews from all over the world were gathered in Jerusalem for the Feast of Weeks/Feast of Harvest.
At once, a sound “came from Heaven” and filled the room where the 120 believers were gathered and something like “tongues of fire” rested above each of the believers. They were filled with the Spirit of God, and began speaking in other languages. The Jews who had gathered for Pentecost also noticed all of this commotion, and met together; they were amazed at the various languages being spoken and asked what it meant. Peter and the other 11 apostles went to the crowd and explained to them what was happening, how this very moment had been promised in the earlier scriptures. Peter also showed how all of this pointed to Jesus, “whom [they] crucified.” Those gathered asked what they needed to do in response, and Peter told them to repent of their sin, and be baptized for the forgiveness of their sins and the reception of the Holy Spirit. Peter continued to share the gospel, warning and pleading with them. Some, 3000 in fact, accepted the gospel and were baptized.
The believers were focused on 4 things: the apostles’ teaching, the fellowship, the breaking of bread and prayer. As a result, the gospel spread as people accepted Jesus as Lord. In fact, their numbers increased daily because of what God was doing with the faithful obedience of the apostles and church.
What’s in it for us?
This text is less about the flashy appearance of the Holy Spirit through wind and tongues of flame (as it only happened this once in the NT) and more about what the Holy Spirit enabled the apostles to do. These, then, are the things that apply to us; these are the examples for us to follow
- The apostles used their gifts as soon as they received them- in this particular case, it was the ability to speak in multiple languages
- The apostles took full advantage of the situation to witness- with the Jews gathered from around the world, there was a God-provided opportunity to teach the gospel in a multi-cultural and multi-ethnic environment
- The apostles both knew and understood scripture and how to apply it to their situation, and more importantly, how that scripture spoke about Jesus: Peter referenced several OT texts and used them to tell about Jesus
- The apostles, and Peter specifically, knew how to speak directly to the immediate life if those gathered: This story is less than two months after the killing and resurrection, and Peter did not shy away from reminding his listeners in their role of killing the Lord and Christ
- There was a discipleship process post-conversion- the new converts were devoted to the teaching of the apostles, met together, ate meals together and prayed together
- God brought the increase- the apostles and believers kept “the main thing the main thing”- they lived out the faith in real and meaningful ways- they learned, met, ate, prayer, shared, praised God and because of this, they “found favor of all the people”- basically, they didn’t go around acting like a bunch of jackwagons telling all of the non-believers how much they sucked.
So…your thoughts? Are the things in bold also for us? What might you add? Remove?