When the day of Pentecost came, all the believers were gathered together in one place. Suddenly there was a noise from the sky which sounded like a strong wind blowing, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then they saw what looked like tongues of fire which spread out and touched each person there. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to talk in other languages, as the Spirit enabled them to speak.
There were Jews living in Jerusalem, religious men who had come from every country in the world. When they heard this noise, a large crowd gathered. They were all excited, because each one of them heard the believers talking in his native language. In amazement and wonder they exclaimed, “These people who are talking like this are Galileans! How is it then that we all hear them talking in our own native languages?” (Acts 2: 1-8).
Amazed and confused they kept asking each other, “What does this mean?”
But others made fun of the believers, saying, “These men are drunk.” (Acts 2: 12-13).
Then Peter stood up with the other eleven apostles (together with Matthias, who replaced Judas) and in a loud voice began to speak to the crowd: “Fellow Jews, and all of you who live in Jerusalem, listen to me and let me tell you what this means. These are not drunk, as you can suppose; it’s only nine o’clock in the morning. Instead, this is what the prophet Joel spoke about:
‘This is what I will do in the last days, God says.
I will pour out my Spirit on everyone.
Your sons and daughters will proclaim my message;
Your young men will see visions, and your old men will have dreams.
Yes, even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my spirit in those days, and they will proclaim my message.
I will perform miracles in the sky above, and wonders on the earth below.
There will be blood, fire, and thick smoke;
The sun will be darkened, and the moon will turn red as blood,
Before the great and glorious day of the Lord comes.
And then, whoever calls up to the Lord for help will be saved.’
Listen to these words fellow Israelites! Jesus of Nazareth was a man whose divine authority was clearly proven to you by all the miracles and wonders which God performed through Him. You yourselves know this, for it happened here among you.
In accordance with His own plan God had already decided that Jesus would be handed over to you; and you killed Him by letting sinful men crucify Him. But God raised Him from death, setting Him free from its power, because it was impossible that death should hold Him prisoner.”
Significance of Pentecost
Sunday marked the 50th and last day of Easter. The word ‘Pentecost’ is an English translation of the Greek word ‘pentekostos’, which means fifty. In the church it’s the commemoration of the day God poured His Holy Spirit down upon His first followers, and the day about three thousand new members were converted into the group.
Before Jesus ascended into heaven, He promised His followers that He would send them a helper. On the day of Pentecost He fulfilled that promise. The Holy Spirit, as seen in the book of Acts, came down, and empowered the disciples to go out there and spread the gospel of the Lord.
Gifts of the Holy Spirit
No one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the power of the Holy Spirit. There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit gives them. There are different abilities to perform service, but the same God gives ability to everyone for their particular service.
The Spirit’s presence is shown in some way in each person for the good of all. The same Spirit gives one person a message full of wisdom, while to another person the same Spirit gives a message full of knowledge. One and the same Spirit gives faith to one person, while to another person He gives the power to heal.
The Spirit gives one person the power to work miracles; to another the gift of speaking God’s message; and to yet another, the ability to tell the difference between gifts that come from the Spirit and those that do not.
To one person He gives the ability speak in strange tongues, and to another He gives the ability to explain what is said. But it is one and the same Spirit who does all this; as He wishes, He gives a different gift to each person.
One body in Christ
Christ is like a single body, which has many parts; it is still one body, even though it’s made up of different parts. In the same way, all of us, whether Jews or Gentiles, whether slaves or free, have been baptized into one body by the same Spirit, and we have all been given the one Spirit to drink. (Corinthians 12: 3-13).
Peter’s message on Pentecost to the people who had gathered (and what each one of us should reflect on) was, “Each one of you must turn away from his sins and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, so that your sins will be forgiven; and you will receive God’s gift, the Holy Spirit.
For God’s promise was made to you and your children, and to all who are far away-all whom the Lord our God calls to Himself.” (Acts 2: 38-39).