June 2010


Acts chapter 2 starts with the disciples all in one place on the day of Pentecost. Pentecost is 50 days after the passover, so it has probably been about one week since Jesus ascended. The Holy Spirit appears. First they hear a mighty rushing wind. When I was younger I lived in West Texas and this time of year we always had tornado warnings. A tornado is said to sound a freight train passing by. I imagine the mighty rushing wind made a significant sound.

The Holy Spirit not only presented himself audibly, but also visually. Tongues of fire came down, split to all the people, and landed on them. As if a supernatural rushing wind inside a room was not enough, the disciples now saw an incredible phenomenon of fire coming down and touching them. The disciples were now filled with the Holy Spirit. At this filling they began to speak in other tongues as the Holy Spirit gave them utterance.

Pentecost is the celebration of Feast of Weeks or Feast of Harvest. The Jewish people would gather to offer their firstfruits to God. We find out there are Jews from all around the region and they speak many different languages. The passage reveals 15 possible different languages. The multitude of Jews heard the sound and commotion to see what was going on. The disciples under the power of the Holy Spirit then proclaimed the mighty works of God in the tongues previously unknown to them.

First the Holy Spirit presented himself powerfully in three ways that could not be explained as human exertion. There was an audible sound, visual representation, and an oral proclamation in an unlearned language. The Spirit with purpose. It was a time where many from different parts of the world were gathered together and the Spirit sought to reach them. The message was proclaimed in a way they could understand.

We will not do an in-depth study of the gift of tongues at this point. What we need to recognize is that the men spoke under the power of the Holy Spirit and as He gave them utterance. The languages they spoke were of the men that were gathered there that the gospel might be proclaimed. The gift of tongues was completely given for the glory of the Lord and the proclamation of the gospel.

The men that gathered to hear them were amazed. Some questioned whether they were drunk. The Holy Spirit unquestionably moved powerfully.

What do we take away from this passage? The Spirit is powerful. The Spirit can move in us to do that which is impossible for us. The gifts of the Spirit are for His glory and the proclamation of the gospel. We should desire and expect the Spirit to move in us in powerful ways to take the gospel to the ends of the earth.

In Acts 1 we encounter a scene that is not talked about much.  When they come back to the upper room they choose a disciple to replace Judas. It’s an interesting text and I want to focus on one aspect. 

Scripture says they were worshipping and praying in one accord when Peter spoke to the group. Peter quotes from the Psalms. He quotes them as speaking about Judas and what they should do now. Don’t miss this point because it shows us insight into how the disciples viewed scriptures. Somehow Peter knew that the Old Testament could speak directly into their current lives, that it could be taken as prophesy. He also quoted a part that instructed them to fulfill the role that Judas once did. 

Then the disciples prayed to the Lord and cast lots between two men who had walked with them from the beginning. The lot fell on Matthias.

What does this teach us about Scripture?  The disciples had a supernatural trust in the Word of God. They believed it spoke specifically to present situations. The greater realization may be that the way they read Scripture should teach us what they believed about the God who created it.