Acts 2:1-4 - Pentecost, Fully Come!

Author: The BFC Gadfly
June 05, 2019


Prayer to prepare our hearts. 

Hymn: 249 – Spirit of God, Descend Upon My Heart

Devotional and Prayer Points: Acts 2:1-4 – Pentecost, Fully Come!  First century Jews considered the Day of Pentecost to be the anniversary of God’s giving of His Law to Moses.  It is significant that the Holy Spirit was given to the Church on that day, because it signaled a change in God’s dealing with His people.  Under the old dispensation, God’s revelation of Himself was through the Torah, and the Torah’s power was in the Law.  Since Jesus had come and completed His work, under the new dispensation, Jesus is God’s final revelation of Himself to His people and the Spirit of God is God’s power given to His people.  The first century day of Pentecost, therefore, signaled a significant change in God’s way of dealing with man, and that day fulfilled all the symbolism to which the Old Testament day of Pentecost looked forward.  The Day of Pentecost had “fully come” in Jesus’ gift of the Spirit to His Church.

But how would a faithful Jew know that this had happened?  How could he be sure that these Christians had God’s approval and blessing?  To demonstrate this, Jesus poured out two signs, and one result.  First, the signs.

First century Jews would recognize immediately that Wind and Fire were well-known symbols of God’s presence.  The Spirit of God “hovering over the waters” in the Genesis creation account was pictured by them as describing a rushing wind disturbing the surface of the waters.  In Ezekiel’s vision of the valley of dry bones a rushing wind brought life to the lifeless bodies of slain Israel.  God’s breath had given life to Adam.  So, the sign of a rushing wind would have indicated to a faithful first century Jew the presence of the Lord with these Christians.

A first Century Jew would have recognized the symbol of fire as an indication of God’s presence as well.  God had appeared to Moses in a burning bush.  His presence with the people of Israel in the Wilderness was indicated by a cloud during the day and a column of fire at night.  The symbol of tongues of fire settling on each believer would have indicated God’s indwelling Spirit being given to each individual Christian. 

These signs indicated God’s presence in the Church and lead to a result which also bore great significance.  The result was the presence of Spirit inspired speech given to each believer for the purpose of making God’s glory known among men.  This result would have spoken volumes to faithful first century Jews who believed that the gift of prophecy (Spirit inspired speech) had ceased 400 years earlier when Malachi concluded his prophecy.  But they also believed that it would reappear with the coming of Messiah in the last days.  This is why Peter’s explanation of what was happening (vv. 16-21) made such an impact on his curious listeners.  They doubtless experienced a shock of recognition.  God’s presence was with these Christians!  They knew God and they were making Him known.

[PRAYER POINTS]  The Spirit has been given to the church for two primary reasons: to identify Christians as those possessing God’s presence; to empower Christians to share the good news about Jesus with the whole world.  Let’s ask God to so fill us with His Spirit that “from our innermost being will flow rivers of living water,” into a dry and thirsty world.  (cf. John 7:38)

Benediction: 2 Corinthians 13:14 – “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”  Amen.