|The Day of Pentecost
After the death & resurrection of Jesus
Acts Chapter Two
The apostles had been told by Jesus to wait in Jerusalem for "the power from on high," "the
Comforter." in chapter one. While waiting, they selected (with the help of God) Matthias to take
Judas' place as the twelfth apostle.
Now on Pentecost, forty-nine days after Passover, they are still waiting. Pentecost was the feast
of the first fruits. the beginning of harvest. It is one of three days that all the males of Israel were
to present themselves in Jerusalem at the temple. The city would have swollen in its
population to over one million.
Gathered in a second story room, the apostles hear the sound of a strong wind, and see
something like fire that looks like split tongues. These "tongues of fire" rest on each of the
apostles, and they immediately begin to speak in different languages. These men of Galilee.
who would have spoken Greek in the marketplace and Hebrew in the synagogue and temple,
are now speaking in languages from every nation that had gathered together in Jerusalem.
The sounds, sights and events created excitement, and attracted attention of the Jews who had
come to Jerusalem. They wondered how these men of Galilee, just north of Jerusalem, could
be speaking in the native languages of the Parthians, Medes. Elamites. Mesopotamians,
Judeans. Cappdocians. Pontians. Asians. Phrygians, Pamphylians. Egyptians, Libyans.
Cretians, Cretans and Arabians. They unmistakably heard them speaking of "the wonderful
works of God" in their native languages (tongues,). "Whatever could this mean?" they asked.
Others just made fun of the situation, joking that they were "full of new wine." "New wine" is
grape juice. They were laughing at them, that at the time of the first fruits (the stomping of the
grapes), they were drunk on the freshly pressed juice.
Peter, speaking out for them all, called for the attention of all those in Jerusalem, and
answered in kind: Why. they couldn't be drunk on the grape juice, it's only nine o'clock in the
morning.' For those who say there is no sense of humor in preaching or in the Bible. I refer you
to Peter's wit (by direction of the Holy Spirit) here.
But, there was an explanation of what was happening that was far more serious than the jokes
they were making: it is the fulfillment of prophecy of Joel (2:28-32). This is what Joel was
speaking about: the coming of the Comforter, the baptism of the Holy Spirit on the day of
Pentecost: and. the salvation of God being available to "whoever calls on the name of the Lord."
It is a promise not to the Jew only, but also to the Gentile. It is a promise based not upon
physical birth, but spiritual rebirth. It is a promise based upon the concept of serving God; for
"not every saying. Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of God; but he that doeth the will of
my Father in heaven" (Matthew 7:21). "Calling upon the name of the Lord" is to rely upon his
power and authority, being obedient to him. A study of the term as it is used in the Bible, shows
that it is a metonymy fa part being used for the whole). In other words, it includes praying to
God and asking for his help; but. it includes much more - it includes the obedience to his will in
worship and service. From the days of Seth on, this is clearly the meaning of "calling upon the
name of the Lord."
Peter now directs there attention to the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus of
The "miracles, wonders and signs which God did through" Jesus were well known to them -
many of them had seen them being performed. Now this miracle worker, they had taken
unlawfully and had him crucified, in fulfillment of what God had determined would be done and
needed to be done. Yet. God raised Jesus from the grave.
David prophesied of the resurrection of Jesus (Psalm 16:8-11). David could not have been
speaking of himself, because he is dead, buried and still in his grave. God had promised
David that one of his seed would rise up to sit upon his throne, and this is fulfilled in the
resurrection of Jesus from the grave. And. the apostles (as well as about flue hundred others]
were witnesses of the fact of the resurrection.
Jesus, now being on the right hand of the Father, received and gave the promise of the Spirit,
which they now saw the manifestation of before them. This, too, was prophesied by David
Therefore, every member of the house of Israel should know without a doubt that Jesus of
Nazareth, whom they had crucified was made both Lord and Christ (Messiah) by God. Jesus
was (and is) the Master of Israel, the Savior of Israel, the Holy One of Promise, the King of
kings, and the Lord of lords.
Having heard the words of Peter and the other apostles, many of those who were present were
cut to the heart. They cried out asking what they should do. What should they do to make up for
having rejected and taken part in the murder of Jesus, the Lord, the Messiah, the Christ? What
can they do to rid themselves of so dark a sin?
Peter's response was twofold; Repent, and be Baptized.
Repentance is a change of mind that results in a change of action. It is more than sorrow ~ it is
sorrow that motivates one to change behavior. Those who had a part in the crucifixion of Jesus
needed to change their mind about Jesus. Rather than a dangerous criminal, they needed to
recognize that he was the Messiah. This, in turn, needed to change their action from rejecting
Jesus to accepting him, and obeying him.
Baptism was "in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins." Baptism is an immersion
or submersion in water (see Acts 8:36-39). It is done "in the name of Jesus Christ" or by his
authority. Baptism is a response not to water, nor to the preacher; but, to Jesus. It is his
command (see Mark 16:16). The purpose of baptism is "for the remission of sins" ~ the
obtaining of forgiveness. (Compare the use of the phrase "for the remission of sins" in Matthew
This would allow them to obtain the promises of God. The gift of the Holy Spirit was conferred
by the laying on of the apostles hands (see Acts 8 & 10). It was a promise that ended with the
coming of the completion of the word of God (1 Corinthians 13). The promise of sa/vation for
"whoever should call upon the name of the Lord" is a promise that continues until the end of
time. A promise to the Jews, to their children, and to "those who are afar off', the Gentiles. "As
many as the Lord our God will call" through the gospel may receive this promise.
This was not all that Peter and the other apostles had to say. but it was the major emphasis.
There was much more that Peter had to say to encourage them to "be saved from this perverse
generation." God would not save them against their will. God would not save them without their
response. God had sent his Son to die upon the cross. God had raised him from the dead.
God had given him glory and honor at his right hand. Now. it is up to man. Mercy and grace are
available. Forgiveness and salvation are obtainable.
If you will...