Vs 1-4 When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
What was the Day of Pentecost?
From Guzik: “The Day of Pentecost was a Jewish feast held fifty days after Passover. It was a time to celebrate the firstfruits of the harvest. At Passover, the first sheaf reaped from the barley harvest was presented to God. But at Pentecost, the firstfruits of the wheat harvest were given to God; therefore, Pentecost is called the day of firstfruits (Numbers 28:26).”
The firstfruits were the very first portions of the harvest. God wants our best, not our leftovers. When we receive our pay, how many of us pay our bills and spend what we want, and then if we have any left over, we give that to God or to the church? The Lord wants the first portions of our harvest.
The tongues of fire from God were an indication that this was a true miracle of The Lord, and that He was speaking and moving through them. All through the Old Testament and through the Old Covenant, God spoke through fire. Remember Moses and the burning bush?
And think about how God spoke to and led the Israelites in Deuteronomy:
“Did ever people hear the voice of God speaking out of the middle of the fire, as you have heard, and live? Or has God assayed to go and take him a nation from the middle of another nation, by temptations, by signs, and by wonders, and by war, and by a mighty hand, and by a stretched out arm, and by great terrors, according to all that the LORD your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes? To you it was showed, that you might know that the LORD he is God; there is none else beside him. Out of heaven he made you to hear his voice, that he might instruct you: and on earth he showed you his great fire; and you heard his words out of the middle of the fire.”
Here in the New Testament and under the New Covenant, God is speaking in a new way by imparting His Holy Spirit to men. (Notice the fire here is in the form of a “tongue” of flame, and the people of God begin to speak in tongues.)
John the Baptist said of Jesus in Matthew 3:11 “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”
Vs 5-13 And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven. And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language. Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, ‘Look, are not all these who speak Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born? Parthians and Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs—we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.’
So they were all amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, ‘Whatever could this mean?’ Others mocking said, ‘They are full of new wine.’
The Jews had become a large enough nation that they had begun to spread out. They had gathered here for the feast of were lots of Jews here from all over the known world. Look at all of the countries and regions listed here!
vs 14-18 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, ‘Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words. For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:
‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams. And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; And they shall prophesy.’
More from Guzik: “Jewish tradition taught that Pentecost commemorated the day when the Law was given to Israel. The Jews sometimes called Pentecost shimchath torah, or ‘Joy of the Law.’ So on the Old Testament Day of Pentecost, Israel received the Law, and on the New Testament Day of Pentecost, the Church received the Spirit of Grace in fullness.”
Vs 19-28 I will show wonders in heaven above and signs in the earth beneath: Blood and fire and vapor of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the LORD.
And it shall come to pass That whoever calls on the name of the LORD Shall be saved.’
“Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know— Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it.
For David says concerning Him: ‘I foresaw the LORD always before my face, For He is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken. Therefore my heart rejoiced, and my tongue was glad; Moreover my flesh also will rest in hope. For You will not leave my soul in Hades, Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption. You have made known to me the ways of life; You will make me full of joy in Your presence.’
“In the midst of this great outpouring of the Holy Spirit, among signs and wonders and speaking in tongues, what did Peter do? Essentially, he said, “Let’s have a Bible study! Let’s study what the prophet Joel said!” This focus on God’s Word did not quench the moving of the Holy Spirit; it fulfilled what the Holy Spirit wanted to do. All the signs and wonders and speaking in tongues were preparing for this work of God’s Word.” – Guzik
As men and women, we tend to focus on the circumstances and the miracle rather than focusing our attention on what God was accomplishing through His Holy Spirit. We still do that today! We focus on the circumstances surrounding us rather than turning to His Word and trying to focus our attention on what God is doing. I’m guilty of that all the time! Here Peter immediately turns their attention to the Word of God. He sees the opportunity to use the miracle to preach. How often I miss that chance in my own life!
Vs 29-36 “Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne, he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption.
This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses. Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear.
For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he says himself: ‘The LORD (God the Father) said to my Lord (Jesus the Son), “Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool.” ‘
Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”
Peter takes this opportunity to preach the Gospel, the Good News. That’s what I need to do and so often don’t!
He is saying: “Jesus came directly from the lineage of David, as it was promised and prophesied, and this Jesus would be raised and sit at God’s right hand, and that God would then give us the Holy Spirit. This is what you’re now seeing God do! And Jesus is Lord and the Christ (Savior)!
Vs 37-40 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.” And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation.”
This group understands their need for a Savior and wants to know: “What do we do about it?” Peters instruction is to repent and turn to Jesus for salvation. That’s the same message God calls us to today: “Be saved from this perverse generation.”
Vs 41-47 Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.
So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.
After receiving the Good News, repenting and accepting the salvation of Christ, they became a fellowship of believers. They became a church! They ate together, celebrated together, and they supported each other financially. What an amazing transformation. This is what the church should look like today, don’t you think?