On the day of Pentecost all the believers were meeting together in one place. Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting. Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them. And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages, as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability.
At that time there were devout Jews from every nation living in Jerusalem. When they heard the loud noise, everyone came running, and they were bewildered to hear their own languages being spoken by the believers. They were completely amazed. “How can this be?” they exclaimed. “These people are all from Galilee, and yet we hear them speaking in our own native languages! Here we are—Parthians, Medes, Elamites, people from Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus, the province of Asia, Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, and the areas of Libya around Cyrene, visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism), Cretans, and Arabs. And we all hear these people speaking in our own languages about the wonderful things God has done!” They stood there amazed and perplexed. “What can this mean?” they asked each other. But others in the crowd ridiculed them, saying, “They’re just drunk, that’s all!”
Then Peter stepped forward with the eleven other apostles and shouted to the crowd, “Listen carefully, all of you, fellow Jews and residents of Jerusalem! Make no mistake about this. These people are not drunk, as some of you are assuming. Nine o’clock in the morning is much too early for that. No, what you see was predicted long ago by the prophet Joel: ‘In the last days,’ God says, ‘I will pour out My Spirit upon all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams. In those days I will pour out My Spirit even on My servants—men and women alike—and they will prophesy. And I will cause wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below—blood and fire and clouds of smoke. The sun will become dark, and the moon will turn blood red before that great and glorious day of the LORD arrives. But everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved.’
“People of Israel, listen! God publicly endorsed Jesus the Nazarene by doing powerful miracles, wonders, and signs through Him, as you well know. But God knew what would happen, and His prearranged plan was carried out when Jesus was betrayed. With the help of lawless Gentiles, you nailed Him to a cross and killed Him. But God released Him from the horrors of death and raised Him back to life, for death could not keep Him in its grip. King David said this about Him: ‘I see that the LORD is always with Me. I will not be shaken, for He is right beside Me. No wonder My heart is glad, and My tongue shouts His praises! My body rests in hope. For You will not leave My soul among the dead or allow Your Holy One to rot in the grave. You have shown Me the way of life, and You will fill Me with the joy of Your presence.’
“Dear brothers, think about this! You can be sure that the patriarch David wasn’t referring to himself, for he died and was buried, and His tomb is still here among us. But he was a prophet, and he knew God had promised with an oath that one of David’s own descendants would sit on His throne. David was looking into the future and speaking of the Messiah’s resurrection. He was saying that God would not leave Him among the dead or allow His body to rot in the grave. “God raised Jesus from the dead, and we are all witnesses of this. Now He is exalted to the place of highest honour in heaven, at God’s right hand. And the Father, as He had promised, gave Him the Holy Spirit to pour out upon us, just as you see and hear today. For David himself never ascended into heaven, yet he said, ‘The LORD said to my Lord, “Sit in the place of honour at My right hand until I humble Your enemies, making them a footstool under Your feet.”‘ So let everyone in Israel know for certain that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, to be both Lord and Messiah!
Peter’s words pierced their hearts, and they said to him and to the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?” Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This promise is to you, and to your children, and even to the Gentiles—all who have been called by the Lord our God.” Then Peter continued preaching for a long time, strongly urging all his listeners, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation!”Acts 2:1-40
I strongly recommend you click the following link and watch Actor Bruce Kuhn’s dramatic recitation of The Second Chapter of the Acts of the Apostles https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UcXtPAALLWA
The Message Version so you can follow Bruce Kuhn’s “reading”.
When the Feast of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Without warning there was a sound like a strong wind, gale force–no one could tell where it came from. It filled the whole building. Then, like a wildfire, the Holy Spirit spread through their ranks, and they started speaking in a number of different languages as the Spirit prompted them. There were many Jews staying in Jerusalem just then, devout pilgrims from all over the world. When they heard the sound, they came on the run. Then when they heard, one after another, their own mother tongues being spoken, they were thunderstruck. They couldn’t for the life of them figure out what was going on, and kept saying, “Aren’t these all Galileans? How come we’re hearing them talk in our various mother tongues? Parthians, Medes, and Elamites; Visitors from Mesopotamia, Judea, and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene; Immigrants from Rome, both Jews and proselytes; Even Cretans and Arabs! “They’re speaking our languages, describing God’s mighty works!” Their heads were spinning; they couldn’t make head or tail of any of it. They talked back and forth, confused: “What’s going on here?” Others joked, “They’re drunk on cheap wine.”
That’s when Peter stood up and, backed by the other eleven, spoke out with bold urgency: “Fellow Jews, all of you who are visiting Jerusalem, listen carefully and get this story straight. These people aren’t drunk as some of you suspect. They haven’t had time to get drunk–it’s only nine o’clock in the morning. This is what the prophet Joel announced would happen: “In the Last Days,” God says, “I will pour out my Spirit on every kind of people: Your sons will prophesy, also your daughters; Your young men will see visions, your old men dream dreams. When the time comes, I’ll pour out my Spirit On those who serve me, men and women both, and they’ll prophesy. I’ll set wonders in the sky above and signs on the earth below, Blood and fire and billowing smoke, the sun turning black and the moon blood-red, Before the Day of the Lord arrives, the Day tremendous and marvellous; And whoever calls out for help to me, God, will be saved.”
“Fellow Israelites, listen carefully to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man thoroughly accredited by God to you–the miracles and wonders and signs that God did through him are common knowledge– this Jesus, following the deliberate and well-thought-out plan of God, was betrayed by men who took the law into their own hands, and was handed over to you. And you pinned him to a cross and killed him. But God untied the death ropes and raised him up. Death was no match for him. David said it all: I saw God before me for all time. Nothing can shake me; he’s right by my side. I’m glad from the inside out, ecstatic; I’ve pitched my tent in the land of hope. I know you’ll never dump me in Hades; I’ll never even smell the stench of death. You’ve got my feet on the life-path, with your face shining sun-joy all around.
“Dear friends, let me be completely frank with you. Our ancestor David is dead and buried–his tomb is in plain sight today. But being also a prophet and knowing that God had solemnly sworn that a descendant of his would rule his kingdom, seeing far ahead, he talked of the resurrection of the Messiah–‘no trip to Hades, no stench of death.’ This Jesus, God raised up. And every one of us here is a witness to it. Then, raised to the heights at the right hand of God and receiving the promise of the Holy Spirit from the Father, he poured out the Spirit he had just received. That is what you see and hear. For David himself did not ascend to heaven, but he did say, God said to my Master, “Sit at my right hand Until I make your enemies a stool for resting your feet.” “All Israel, then, know this: There’s no longer room for doubt–God made him Master and Messiah, this Jesus whom you killed on a cross.”
Cut to the quick, those who were there listening asked Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers! Brothers! So now what do we do?” Peter said, “Change your life. Turn to God and be baptized, each of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, so your sins are forgiven. Receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is targeted to you and your children, but also to all who are far away–whomever, in fact, our Master God invites.” He went on in this vein for a long time, urging them over and over, “Get out while you can; get out of this sick and stupid culture!” They committed themselves to the teaching of the apostles, the life together, the common meal, and the prayers. Everyone around was in awe–all those wonders and signs done through the apostles! And all the believers lived in a wonderful harmony, holding everything in common. They sold whatever they owned and pooled their resources so that each person’s need was met. They followed a daily discipline of worship in the Temple followed by meals at home, every meal a celebration, exuberant and joyful, as they praised God. People in general liked what they saw. Every day their number grew as God added those who were saved.
- That day about three thousand took him at his word, were baptized and were signed up. (MSG)
- So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls. (NASB)
- Those who believed what Peter said were baptized and added to the church that day—about 3,000 in all. (NLT)
They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God and having favour with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.Acts 2:42-47
What an amazing day in the life of the church! It was the day the Church was birthed actually. The first sermon where Peter puts it all together for those who are listening and explains the fit to the Old Testament prophecies and tells them why these things are happening. The result was approximately 3,000 people accepting the message. Clearly they Repented, Believed and were Baptized. Well, it is natural to think that when ‘That Day’ described in Joel finally came, there would be significant results from the outpouring of the Gift that had been Promised. How did Peter know to preach this message? Well think about it. On the road to Emmaus, Jesus explained the things that were happening in terms of the Scriptures. Then the two disciples went back to tell those in Jerusalem and they had heard it for the second time. Peter is just taking what has been explained to him and is passing it on to faithful people who will tell others also. That is what it is all about. That is what it means to be My witnesses in Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria and the outer most parts of the earth.
Note that all of this described in verses 2:1-41 has happened in just one day. What an amazing day that day was. Notice then how Acts 2:41 becomes a pivot verse between all that has gone before it and what follows it. Note how the nature of the increase from witnessing is being highlighted and emphasized, along with the expansion of the Kingdom that comes as a result. Remember ‘This Day’ the prophet Joel spoke of was the day on which the Spirit would be poured out on all flesh. This was the moment when God’s Spirit would indwell His people. This was the outpouring of the Counsellor, the Paraclete spoken of by John. This was the promised Gift that they were to wait in Jerusalem for. He had come, and come so dramatically that it would change the world forever and would turn a rag-tag bunch of fearful followers into Witnesses who were fearless and filled with Power. This was a highly significant day in the life of Jesus’ followers in Jerusalem, which would usher in a New Era. It was highly significant in the birth of the Church by the Spirit, in the ongoing witness of His followers up until today. No wonder we call it Pentecost and celebrate it as the Day of the Outpouring of the Spirit.
Let Bruce’s dramatic retelling of the events of Pentecost stir you again by way of summary as you recall all the things I have covered through the Gems on this section. Let the depth and detail soak into you once again as you listen. I have deliberately given you the text in the Message version as well so you can follow Bruce’s recitation on screen if you wish. But I recommend you just listen to it the first time through and then follow the words and then perhaps listen a third time without reading the words again. Let the impact of this dramatic portion of Scripture sink into your being.
Then before the next Gems, take time to see how Acts 2:41 is the bridge between Acts 2:1-40 and Acts 2:42-47 and all that follows. Pay attention to the detail and get a sense of the flow of how it all fits together. We will talk about it in the following Gems.
Spiritual maturity isn’t measured by how high you jump in praise but how straight you walk in obedience.Heriswita Riana
Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.T. S. Eliot
Birth is traumatic, not only to the mother but to the baby. To pass from the smaller thing to the greater thing it’s traumatic!T D Jakes
If you do not expect the unexpected you will not find it, for it is not to be reached by search or trail.Heraclitus