When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. - Acts 2:1-4, ESV
What Really Happened at Pentecost?
The sound of a rushing mighty wind blew through the house where the disciples of Jesus were gathered. In this same house, just days before, the disciples had sought the Lord and Matthias had been selected as the 12th apostle. For more than three years, and probably as long as five years, the disciples had been waiting for the baptism of the Holy Spirit. John the Baptist had promised that such a baptism was coming. Jesus had told the disciples to wait in Jerusalem for it. Now, at long last, the Holy Spirit was coming upon the disciples with power. But what was the significance of this day?
Was the church born at Pentecost? No, not really. The church had gathered under the authority of the apostles to seek the Lord before Pentecost. More than that, the church as the people of God traces its roots back through the Old Testament to the call of Abraham and even before that to Seth's son, Enosh, in Gen. 4:26: "To Seth also a son was born, and he called his name Enosh. At that time people began to call upon the name of the Lord." This was not the birth of the church, but it was the church's first public proclamation of Jesus and the Gospel after His death and resurrection.
Was Peter's sermon at Pentecost the first sermon of the New Testament church? No, not really. Peter had preached a message to the gathered church about Judas and the need for a new apostle. This was the first evangelistic sermon of the New Testament church.
Was Pentecost the first time the Holy Spirit came upon God's people? No. The Holy Spirit had filled and empowered people several times in the Old Testament. Prophets, priests and kings were anointed by the Holy Spirit for their offices. The writers of Scripture were filled by the Holy Spirit as they wrote God's word. However, the relationship the Holy Spirit had with God's people changed significantly at Pentecost. At Penteost, Jesus gave the Holy Spirit as the constant indwelling Counselor and Comforter of all of His people.
At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit was poured out from the exalted and enthroned Christ as His kingdom blessing for all of His people. Now, by faith, everyone who trusts in Christ receives the baptism of the Holy Spirit and enjoys the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit. As Paul would write later to the Corinthians: "Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body." (1 Cor. 6:19-20, ESV)
Pentecost was clearly a very significant event in the life of the church. God the Holy Spirit came to live within God's people to guide, teach, convict and empower us to be His witnesses to the ends of the earth. The immediate effect of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit was the bold and effective proclamation of Jesus as Lord, which we will see in detail in the coming days.
Lord, You have given us Your Holy Spirit to empower us to live for You. Thank You for His indwelling presence. May we walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh today and always. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Prayer Based on Proverbs 2:1-15:
Heavenly Father, Your words are a treasure.
Let us study, memorize, love and store up Your words in our hearts and minds.
Lord, make our ears attentive to wisdom and our hearts inclined to understanding.
Father, we need Your insight. We long for Your understanding.
Nothing this world offers us as information, insight or entertainment can ever compete with the treasure of Your life-changing wisdom.
You alone, O Lord, give true wisdom.
From Your mouth come knowledge and understanding.
We cannot understand ourselves, our callings, our world, Your kingdom
without Your Spirit and Your word to guide and inform us.
Be our Shield as we seek to walk in Your integrity.
Guard our paths and watch over our way each day.
Let us understand righteousness and justice, that we may do them.
Let us walk in every good path.
Send Your wisdom into our hearts and give us knowledge to delight our souls.
Watch over us, guard us, deliver us from the evil ways of the world.
We are Your people, Lord, and we look to You, in Jesus' name, Amen.
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