It happened 50 days after Jesus was crucified — Pentecost (meaning 50 in Greek). It’s when Jesus sent the Holy Spirit into the hearts of His disciples. What is the significance for us today? Why is the Holy Spirit a key factor to being a born again Christian? What really happened that morning in Jerusalem? Let’s dig in…
Acts 2:1-39 – The Arrival of the Holy Spirit
On the day of Pentecost all the believers were meeting together in one place. 2 Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting. 3 Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them. 4 And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages, as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability.
5 At that time there were devout Jews from every nation living in Jerusalem. 6 When they heard the loud noise, everyone came running, and they were bewildered to hear their own languages being spoken by the believers.
7 They were completely amazed. “How can this be?” they exclaimed. “These people are all from Galilee, 8 and yet we hear them speaking in our own native languages! 9 Here we are—Parthians, Medes, Elamites, people from Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus, the province of Asia, 10 Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, and the areas of Libya around Cyrene, visitors from Rome 11 (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!” 12 They stood there amazed and perplexed. “What can this mean?” they asked each other.
13 But others in the crowd ridiculed them, saying, “They’re just drunk, that’s all!”
Peter Preaches to the Crowd
14 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. 15 These people are not drunk, as some of you are assuming. Nine o’clock in the morning is much too early for that. 16 No, what you see was predicted long ago by the prophet Joel:
17 ‘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.
18 In those days I will pour out my Spirit
even on my servants—men and women alike—
and they will prophesy.
19 And I will cause wonders in the heavens above
and signs on the earth below—
blood and fire and clouds of smoke.
20 The sun will become dark,
and the moon will turn blood red
before that great and glorious day of the Lord arrives.
21 But everyone who calls on the name of the Lord
will be saved.’
22 “People of Israel, listen! God publicly endorsed Jesus the Nazarene by doing powerful miracles, wonders, and signs through him, as you well know. 23 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. 24 But God released him from the horrors of death and raised him back to life, for death could not keep him in its grip. 25 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.
26 No wonder my heart is glad,
and my tongue shouts his praises!
My body rests in hope.
27 For you will not leave my soul among the dead
or allow your Holy One to rot in the grave.
28 You have shown me the way of life,
and you will fill me with the joy of your presence.’
29 “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. 30 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. 31 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.
32 “God raised Jesus from the dead, and we are all witnesses of this. 33 Now he is exalted to the place of highest honor 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. 34 For David himself never ascended into heaven, yet he said,
‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit in the place of honor at my right hand
35 until I humble your enemies,
making them a footstool under your feet.”’
36 “So let everyone in Israel know for certain that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, to be both Lord and Messiah!”
37 Peter’s words pierced their hearts, and they said to him and to the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?”
38 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. 39 This promise is to you, to your children, and to those far away—all who have been called by the Lord our God.”Acts 2:1-39 NLT
What is Pentecost?
First, remember that the Christian church has Jewish roots. The Feast of Pentecost — Greek for 50 — took place 7 weeks after Passover. It’s called in Hebrew, Shavuot, which means “weeks”. Hence, it’s 49 days after Passover. Jesus was crucified on Passover as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world by the shedding of His blood. We find God’s command to celebrate the Feast of the Harvest in Leviticus…
15 “From the day after the Sabbath—the day you bring the bundle of grain to be lifted up as a special offering—count off seven full weeks. 16 Keep counting until the day after the seventh Sabbath, fifty days later. Then present an offering of new grain to the Lord. 17 From wherever you live, bring two loaves of bread to be lifted up before the Lord as a special offering. Make these loaves from four quarts of choice flour, and bake them with yeast. They will be an offering to the Lord from the first of your crops.Leviticus 23:15-17 NLT
The 2 loaves represented both the Jews and the Gentiles who would hear the Good News of the Salvation of Jesus Christ. The common language of Jerusalem in the first century was Greek. Thus, we get the word “Pentecost”. Before Jesus, on this day, the people brought their first fruits or harvest to the temple and they would hear the Law of Moses. That was their connection to the Word of God. On this Pentecost, God brought the Word to them in the form of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is a way for believers to connect with God directly.
Shovuot was a pilgrimage feast. Subsequently, since all Jews had to come to Jerusalem for this festival, the city was full of Jews from all over the Mediterranean. Therefore, God gave the disciples, through the Holy Spirit, the ability to speak in the languages of the people who were there. It’s a reversal of what God did at the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11. Pastor Sandy Adams explains…
The wind caught their attention, but the tongues, the miracle of language, stirred their imagination. At Pentecost the disciples praised God in a variety of Mediterranean languages, so that the visitors to Jerusalem recognized the Church’s praise in their own language. They wondered how could this be? And notice the reversal. In Genesis 11 at the Tower of Babel, God confused the languages and scattered people… Here He reunites us by blessing us with the supernatural ability to speak His praise. In our rebellion we were dispersed. In His praise we are reunited.Sandy Adams
Hearing their own language got their attention. They heard, “about the wonderful things God has done!” They were primed to hear the Gospel! The people then listened to Peter, who stepped forward and spoke in the common Greek.
Peter explained what was going on by quoting the prophet Amos. This day triggered the start of the “Last Days“. I love it that he said that women would prophesy, too. I took that calling to heart. That’s why I do what I do!
The Power of the Holy Spirit
God created each and every one us in HIS Image — Imago Deo. Our sinful nature corrupted that image. Through the Holy Spirit, He transforms us into an image of Jesus Christ — who, of course was perfect and sinless. We can never be like that, but with the help of the Spirit, we strive to be Christlike. That’s Sanctification! Plus we get…
17 For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.2 Corinthians 3:17-18 NLT
Confident Hope and Love
3 We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. 4 And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. 5 And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.Romans 5:3-5 NLT
10 But it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit. For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God’s deep secrets. 11 No one can know a person’s thoughts except that person’s own spirit, and no one can know God’s thoughts except God’s own Spirit. 12 And we have received God’s Spirit (not the world’s spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us.
13 When we tell you these things, we do not use words that come from human wisdom. Instead, we speak words given to us by the Spirit, using the Spirit’s words to explain spiritual truths.1 Corinthians 2:10-13 NLT
Joined with Christ
17 But the person who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with him.1 Corinthians 6:17 NLT
Down Payment Guarantee
14 The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify him.Ephesians 1:14 NLT
Teaching the Truth
27 But you have received the Holy Spirit, and he lives within you, so you don’t need anyone to teach you what is true. For the Spirit teaches you everything you need to know, and what he teaches is true—it is not a lie. So just as he has taught you, remain in fellowship with Christ.1 John 2:27 NLT
In conclusion, the big question is…
Do YOU Have the Holy Spirit in Your Heart?
It’s free for the asking! Jesus said…
13 “So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.”Luke 11:13 NLT
If you’re not sure if you’re saved or not, if you truly want to be born again and have the assurance of salvation, receive the Holy Spirit, and get a 1-way, non-stop ticket to Heaven after you die, or that you won’t be left behind at the Rapture, which can happen at any moment, this is what you have to do…
Follow Peter’s instructions and…
Believe. Repent. Be Baptized. Receive the Holy Spirit.
- Believe — have Faith — that Jesus is the Christ and He died taking your sins away forever and that He rose from the dead 3 days later.
- Repent of your sins — stop sinning! Do a complete 180 degree turn in your life and surrender your life to Him.
- Be Baptized by water baptism — show the world and yourself that you have died to your old life and are born again in Christ.
- Receive the Holy Spirit in your heart.
More on the Holy Spirit…
- Your Body is a Temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians)
- The Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians)
- Life in the Spirit (Romans 8)
- 22 Benefits of Salvation
- The 7 Roles of the Holy Spirit