The Day of Pentecost arrived, a day where in Jerusalem people from many nations gathered for worship. It’s during a feast, where celebration is the focus, that God fulfills his joyous promise of pouring out his Spirit on all mankind, not just the Jewish nation. There are three different occasions here where God does what he previously promised to accomplish (2:15-21; 25-28; 34-35). Here, the fulfillment of God’s promise is occasion not for grief but rejoicing. There are several observations I’d like to make.
First, the phenomenon of speaking in tongues caught the people’s attention and thus stimulated their inquiry. Much like signs and wonders, God here is using a physical occurrence to point to a spiritual reality.
Second, Peter’s second sermon is recorded (His first was to the 120 concerning Judas) where he explains the meaning of the tongues and goes back to Christ’s death, burial and resurrection as the basis for the glad tidings (vv.22-24). Peter points to God’s acts of power through Jesus as evidence of his claims, he points to God’s sovereign activity through the choices of men to crucify Jesus, and declares his victory over the grave because of his sinlessness, “…it was impossible for Him to be held by its power”.
Third, the resurrection was the focal point of his preaching for it demonstrated that life swallows up death, death no longer has the poison it once possessed (vv.29-36)
Fourth, this Jesus whom the Jews crucified is both Lord—kyrios and Adonai, the Christ—Messiah, the anointed One by God’s doing (v.36). That is, Jesus of Nazareth in space time history is the fulfillment of the coming One in Genesis where God would provide “himself” a sacrifice and he’s the Son of David, one like Moses, but so much more.
Fifth, this preaching caused the hearers to be pierced to the heart (v.37) and so they asked, “Brethren what shall we do?” The word of God effected and affected the hearers. Fulfilled prophecy was the sword Peter used and the Holy Spirit pierced the hearts. The proper response of sinners is only one: Repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This is a promise for as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself (vv.37-39).
The life, death and resurrection of Jesus are preached and the proper response is repentance for the forgiveness of sins. But what is this?
Repentance speaks of making an 1800 turn from death unto life, from worshiping the creature to adoring the Creator, from listening to fools to heeding the all-wise God. If (when) the Gospel is faithfully preached, these elements will obtain. Yet, today the word sin or repentance is often omitted from pulpit ministry. How then can people be saved? How many people are being falsely healed as in Jeremiah’s day when the false prophets and idolatrous leaders spoke peace to Israel and Judah while they were on the precipice of disaster and exile was certain?
Sixth, those who received the word numbered about 3000 people. We see that the activities of God’s people were four fold: a) They continuously devoted themselves to the apostles teaching; b) They continuously devoted themselves to the fellowship; c) They continuously devoted themselves to the breaking of bread; d) They continuously devoted themselves to prayer.
Note that New Birth produces new desires, new passions like a hunger for God’s word, a desire to be with God’s redeemed community, table fellowship, and a life given to prayer. Where did the disciples get the idea to concentrate on these four elements? They got it from Jesus himself.
All these components are essential to a vibrant, authentic Christian experience, remove one of them from our “Christian experience” and things go quickly awry. Too often professing believers and churches don’t practice the above (privately or corporately) and are puzzled as to why their lives are not impacting people for Christ.
Seventh, awe at God’s power through the apostles gripped the community of believers (signs and wonders) such that all things they had they shared with those in need. Here, there was no state coercion as in socialism or communism, but rather it was voluntary kindness that overflowed from souls that were transformed by God’s power of new birth (vv.43-45), a power grounded in the Creator not the creature. And thus the Lord continued to add to their number as many as were being saved (v.47)
Pentecost among other things demonstrates that the Gospel is for all the nations not a select few, gospel preaching has definite content and true conversions produce lives committed to Christ’s teaching and Christ’s church. To call ourselves Christian’s and not be part of the gathered church is not only disobedient, it’s not Christianity. And those who practice such isolation need to ask themselves if their profession of faith is merely verbal, because it contradicts the plain account t of Scripture.