Reader: “On the day of Pentecost”
Response: “all the believers were meeting together in one place.”
Scripture: Acts 2:1-13
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!”
Reader: “The word of the Lord.”
Response: “Thanks be to God.”
You’ll recall that the Feast of Pentecost was one of three pilgrimage festivals which required every Jewish male to journey to the Temple in Jerusalem to celebrate the feast. That explains why there were Jews present from all over the known world. (In the absence of today’s media, what better way to spread the gospel. In fact, people to people communication is still the most effective way on earth!)
For the past ten days the disciples and a group of believers had remained in Jerusalem praying together daily in accordance with Jesus’ directive at his ascension. They were to wait for the gift of the Holy Spirit that would come to dwell in them in Jesus’ absence. The believers were gathered when a violent supernatural wind from heaven came blowing through the room. Wind in Scripture often depicts the presence of the Spirit of God. The wind hovered over the waters at creation. God breathed the breath of life into man at creation and he became a living soul and again into the dry bones of Ezekiel’s day. The wind split the Red Sea. Elijah went to heaven in a whirlwind of fire. In talking with Nicodemus, Jesus referred to the Spirit as wind blowing where it will. Fire and wind appear together again in this passage. This coming of the Holy Spirit is the fulfillment of John the Baptist’s words that Jesus would baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire, again, fire representing the presence of God.
Whereas the presence of the Holy Spirit was given in measured degrees in the First Testament among various prophets, as we have mentioned previously, this was the first time it was given in full measure to all believers. With the gift of the Holy Spirit, came power for the simple Galilean fishermen to speak in languages they had never learned.
As has often been pointed out, this event is a kind of reversal of the events of the Tower of Babel. With the Tower the language was the unifying factor resulting in the people’s great pride in themselves and rejection of God. So he confused the languages so they could not understand each other resulting in the people being scattered over the face of the earth, thus destroying their prideful, man-centered unity. Now, people from many countries thousands of years later in their own languages hear the good news that God has delivered people from their pride and sin. The gospel is the unifier of all peoples! Would that our world grasped this truth today.
The unity of the whole of Scripture is undeniable. (This is one of the reasons it is so important to study the First Testament as well as the New Testament.) The areas mentioned would be the modern day regions of the Kurds, Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Arab regions south and east of Israel, Egypt, Libya, islands in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, and Rome. One of the central themes of the feast of Pentecost historically has been repentance. So it is no surprise that Peter’s sermon which follows this passage is on repentance, with the result being thousands of people became believers! And that same Holy Spirit continues to convert thousands of people in our day.
What a fitting way to conclude these past fifty days of time in God’s word. The ability to lead a Christian life in our own strength, determination, and self-reliance is not possible. Perfection is God’s standard, hence, we are doomed. God provided his Son to take our place on the perfection side of things as he accepted Jesus’ death in our condemned place as evidenced by the torn curtain. At Jesus’ departure he gave the gift of the Holy Spirit to indwell all believers to enable them to have the power to live the life to which they’ve been called. Let us live that life.
Music: “Cum Sancto Spiritu” Vivaldi National Chamber Choir of Armenia
With the Holy Spirit in the glory of God the Father. Amen.
Almighty, deathless God, whose will it was that the mystery of Easter should be fulfilled in that of Pentecost, grant through heaven’s grace that the nations torn asunder by difference, may be made one in the avowal of your holy name. Amen.
Thank you so much for subscribing and sharing these moments with the Lord these past months. Thank you for your support. It has truly been a joy in preparing these devotionals. My hope is that you have gained in your love for the Lord and have been drawn closer to him and at the same time grown in your knowledge of the Scriptures. I also hope you’ve been introduced to some new music or known music in new settings. In a few months I’ll most likely be working on next year’s Advent series. You may also receive some emails with some things to think about between now and then, but Advent begins next Nov.28, 2021.
The Lord be with you,
©Daniel Sharp 2021