Acts 2:1-4 What Happened on the Day of Pentecost?

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

Why was a Pentecost Needed? Courage to Witness

I think if there is one prevailing emotion in the opening of chapter two it would be that of fear. There was probably a lot of fear and a lot of uncertainty in what is happening.

It’s kind of like the story told about a young monk who was called on to preach his first sermon at the monastery. Frightened and intimidated, he opened with a question, “How many of you know what I am about to say?”  When no one raised a hand, he timidly admitted, “Well I don’t either” and dismissed the assembly with the traditional Dominus vobiscum, “the Lord be with you.”  Of course, his superiors would not let him off the hook with that kind of behavior, so a week later he was back on the same platform. To everyone’s surprise, he asked the same question: “How many of you know what I am about to say?”  This time the brothers determined to teach him a lesson, so everyone present raised a hand. The young monk then smiled and said, “Well, since you already know, you don’t need to hear the sermon. Dominus vobiscum.”

After a severe reprimand, he slowly ascended the stairs of the platform yet a third time. Slowly, but deliberately, he astonished the audience with his now traditional question: “How many of you know what I am about to say?”  This time around, half the brothers raised a hand, the other half did not. “Well,” said the young monk, “those of you who know tell those who don’t know. Dominus vobiscum.” What this young monk lacked in courage, he made up in tenacity.

I can just imagine that those in the early church, who had been given this fearful job of being witnesses may, have felt like this monk some days. I would think it was something that was fearful and uncertain to them at the beginning.

[box] The events of the day of Pentecost had their knees quaking, I’m sure! But they were about to get a shot of courage from on high that would cause them to completely turn their world upside down for Christ! [/box]

This is the beginning of some very dramatic happenings in the book of Acts.  As we put this passage under the microscope today, I want to ask some questions that hopefully we can answer to expose all that is worthwhile here–and that is a lot!


What Happened on the Day of Pentecost?

Look with me at verse one:

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

I’d like to add just a word about Pentecost before we dive into the rest of this. This is a feast time for the Jews. It occurs 50 days after the Passover feast.  This is also called the Feast of Weeks. Many describe it as essentially the Jewish equivalent of Thanksgiving. The day of Pentecost happened on May 20th of this year, and I’ll tell you I gave some thought, this week, to observing it the next time the birthday of the church rolls around. There were two harvest times per year around Jerusalem and one of those was this time of the year. So the Jews set aside time to thank God for his provision of the harvest. This event happening when it did, says something about God’s timing as well, because he knew there would be a lot of people in the city from all over when he released his Spirit on these people. There is a reason for everything in God’s plan, and the assurance of a large audience to witness these events is just another part of God’s plan. He knew exactly what he was doing, when he caused these things to happen around the time of Pentecost.

Thus far in the book of Acts, it has read like a supernatural thriller of sorts. We had the apostles witness the ascension, we had the supernatural selection of Matthias as the next apostle, and now we have this event which is, by anyone’s standards, simply remarkable. The way this ties into chapter one is that it is likely that they were in the same room they had been in. It is also likely that the 120 disciples were there present when the Spirit came. Can you imagine what this must have been like for them? They had seen some things hanging around Jesus. They had seen the dead raised to life. They had seen those born blind have their sight restored. They had seen those who had demons cast out of them. There was a lot for a person to deal with in terms of supernatural happenings, if you were going to be around Jesus.

The  Physical Manifestation of God’s Presence – A Fearful Experience

But these guys were likely in their upper room praying, as they had been since the Lord was taken up. Then all at once, it sounded like the place was going to come apart! I think of it in terms of the nights when Hurricane Ike came through us like a freight train in 2008. I can remember the wind howling outside, and even though we were safe inside, it was still a fearful thing to hear.

[box] By the way, God is not opposed to causing fear in humans from time to time. Just look at the passages of scripture when Moses received the ten commandments in Exodus. The mountain shook and there was lightning and thunder and thick smoke. [/box]

Just look at Isaiah chapter 6 when Isaiah was allowed to see the glory of the Lord in his temple–Isaiah was trembling. John, in his vision of the ascended Christ in Revelation, said that he fell at his feet like a dead man.  So God will cause fear when he deems it necessary to get people’s attention–and this was very likely one of those times. I can imagine that the noise of wind and the flames of fire were enough to cause some very upset people here.

Redemption from the Curse of Babel – Speaking Other Languages

Then they began to speak in other languages, and by doing so they point to the redemptive actions of God toward humans. Our God is a redeeming, reaching God. He pushes back against the effects of the fall in our lives and our circumstances. In the book of Genesis chapter 11, we see a group of people have gathered to construct a tower to try and reach heaven. When God saw their intentions and the condition of their hearts, he made their work more difficult by confusing their language. The curse of the tower of Babel was that people were divided by God because of their hearts of unbelief toward him, and they were divided by language.

[box] Now through Christ, at the coming of the Holy Spirit, the curse of the tower of Babel is reversed. Now language is bringing people together and toward Christ, rather than dividing them and driving them away. It is in this moment at Pentecost, that God redeems something that he had previously cursed.[/box]

What Happened at Pentecost? First, A Prophecy is Fulfilled

Now, in answering the question of what happened in this moment, I believe there were three significant things.   First, a prophecy is fulfilled. In the book of Joel chapter 2, the prophet Joel is prophesying about the coming day of the Lord, and during this prophecy he said these words:

During this event at Pentecost, after the crowd gathers and Peter stands to address them, the very first thing he tells them is that what has happened here today is a fulfillment of what the Prophet Joel said. Why is it significant that this prophecy was pointed out? Why should this matter to us today? Well, very simply, because it validates our faith in this day and time. If Peter had not pointed out that this fulfilled prophecy, we may not have made the connection to Joel necessarily. If Luke hadn’t written it down, we would have none of this to study, and we would have less to lean where it regards the authenticity of our faith.

[box] These events and the recording of them offer us necessary proof that not only was Christ’s coming prophesied by the Old Testament, but the Holy Spirit’s coming was prophesied as well.[/box]

Proof for The Skeptics and for Us!

The fulfillment of this prophecy regarding the Holy Spirit offers us the proof we need to perhaps convince the more skeptical among us.

[box] These days, those who are skeptics are indeed hard to convince of the truth of these things. But we know that God opens hearts to his truth. We realize that.  However, we are still called to be prepared to give a defense for the hope that is within us. By studying these events and the fact that prophecy was fulfilled here, we can make the assertion that most all of O.T. prophecy has been fulfilled.[/box]

And those things which Christ prophesied and promised have been fulfilled as well, except for his second coming, which is yet future. So we are able to make a reliable appeal to those we live among, those we work with, and those in our families who have yet to believe. We can make the appeal that all of these things have happened just as the Old Testament said they would. This gives weight to our argument that those things yet future which were prophesied are going to happen as well. Wouldn’t it be so much better for them if they were convinced of these truths rather than being skeptical and treating them as suspect? Fulfilled prophecy is a place for us to be able to drive a stake in the ground, where it regards the absolute truth of our position. And quite honestly it helps our faith as well. Even if we are believers, it does us good to see the truth of Scripture being proven out.

Watch the rest of the sermon below on FB Live!

Posted by Koinonia Church on Sunday, July 15, 2018

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’][/author_image] [author_info] Pastor Dan Woody is a founding elder for Koinonia. He has been serving churches as a pastor for the past 13 years. He and his wife Peggy are the parents of two sons, Chris and Jonathan. Pastor Dan is currently studying for his Mdiv with The North American Reformed Seminary. His interests include music, and most outdoor sports like golf, hiking, tennis and fishing. [/author_info] [/author]