Acts 2:1-21 (ESV)
1 When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.
5 Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. 6 And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. 7 And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? 9 Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, 11 both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.” 12 And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13 But others mocking said, “They are filled with new wine.”
14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them: “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words. 15 For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. 16 But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel:
17 “‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh,
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
and your young men shall see visions,
and your old men shall dream dreams;
18 even on my male servants and female servants
in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.
19 And I will show wonders in the heavens above
and signs on the earth below,
blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke;
20 the sun shall be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood,
before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day.
21 And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’
Day 1: Loving God
Notice the connection between “divided tongues as of fire” resting on “each one of them,” and the believers beginning to “speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.” It’s the tongue like fire (representative of the presence of the Spirit) that enables believers to praise God in other tongues. And the Spirit of God rests personally upon each, individual believer. The Spirit of God comes upon the Church at Pentecost, corporately, but He also comes upon each Christian, personally. Do you have a personal relationship with God? Do you keep in step with the Spirit in your life?
The believers who were “filled with the Holy Spirit” are accused of being “filled with new wine.” Though this was a baseless, false accusation, there are similarities between the two. Many linguists speculate that the word “alcohol” is a derivation of the Arabic word “al-ghawl,” which means spirit. Ancient Arabic speakers believed that a drunkard was possessed by a spirit that produces intoxication. In both cases, you are ceding your lordship and possession of yourself. We call drunk driving, DUI, “driving under the influence.” It’s illegal because if you’re under the influence of alcohol you’re not actually in control. This is why Ephesians 5:18 says, “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit” (cf. Prov. 23:31). To be “filled with the Spirit” means to be controlled by the Spirit, to come under the influence of the Holy Spirit. Do you aspire to come more and more under His influence, to conform yourself more and more to His will, to find your mind in the Word of God, which was inspired by the Spirit of God, to commune with God in the Spirit through prayer, to surrender yourself to the will of God, wherever He may lead?
Confess the areas of your life, in thought or deed, where you have resisted the Lordship of Christ and the control of the Holy Spirit.
Surrender yourself to God in prayer—identifying fully with Christ’s and partaking in His death, giving yourself up entirely to God’s purposes and priorities.
Pray that God would fill you with His Holy Spirit.
Pray that God would embolden you to be a witness of Christ.
Recommended Song: “I Surrender All” by Citizens
Day 2: Loving One Another
Peter quotes Joel 2:28-32 in verses 17-18 to explain the events of Pentecost. In the Old Testament period, the Holy Spirit empowered select individuals temporarily for particular God-given tasks, such as the construction of the tabernacle/temple (Exod. 31:1-5; 35:30-35), prophethood (2 Sam. 23:2; 1 Chron. 12:18; 2 Chron. 20:14-17; 24:20; 1 Kings 18:12; Ezek. 11:5; Mic. 3:7-9), priesthood (Num. 11:24-29;1 Sam. 2:11, 21; 3:1-21), judgeship (Num. 27:18; Deut. 34:9; Judg. 3:10; 6:34; 11:29; 14:6, 19; 15:14-17), and kingship (1 Sam. 10:6, 10; 16:13). But in the New Covenant age, the Spirit of power comes upon “all flesh”—all who “repent and [are] baptized … in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of … sins”—whether they be male or female, young or old, slave or free. Now, every believer can hear the voice of God. Every Christian has access to the Spirit of prophecy, the Holy Spirit who “searches … the depths of God” and “comprehends the thoughts of God” (1 Cor. 1:10-11). Are you living today like you have this kind of privileged access? Some Christians live like people who wander around the outskirts of a convert venue, trying to get a peak of what’s going on inside, wondering whether or not if their tickets are legitimate, fearful that the security guards will kick them out, when, in reality, they have a VIP pass that gives them full backstage access.
Pray that every member of our church would seek to minister to one another, since we are all indwelled by the powerful Spirit of God.
1 Corinthians 14:1 says “Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy.” Pray that our church would abound in love, and that God would give enable many of our members to prophesy for the upbuilding of the church.
Pray that our church would expect to hear God’s voice and readily speak His truth in love to one another.
Pray that we would “maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace,” by walking “with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love” (Eph. 4:2-3).
Pray for a long-term, suitable, affordable meeting space for our church.
Recommended Song: “Holy Spirit, Living Breath of God” by Keith and Kristyn Getty
Day 3: Loving Our Neighbors
Luke writes in verse 5 that “Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven.” The list of nations in verses 9-11 map onto the nations listed in the Table of the Nations in Genesis 10 (cf. Luke 10:1).
Furthermore, Luke recounts the Pentecost event as the beginning of the reversal of Babel. At Babel, people rebelled against God’s command to “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth” (Gen. 9:1) and sought to “build [them]selves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens … [to] make a name for [them]selves, lest [they] be dispersed over the face of the whole earth” (Gen. 11:4). So “the LORD confused the language of all the earth. And from there the Lord dispersed them over the face of all the earth” (Gen. 11:9). This was when God “gave to the nations their inheritance, when he divided mankind” (Deut. 32:8-9).
At Pentecost, “the divided tongues as of fire” enables “divided mankind” to speak the languages of every nation, so that “men from every nation under heaven” hear the wondrous things that God has done through Jesus and are “bewildered” (same word as “confused”). The mission of bearing witness to Christ “in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8) begins in earnest.
Pray that God would send out more laborers into the harvest, both here and abroad, especially, this month, for Iran, a nation we have been praying for throughout February.
Pray by name for your unbelieving family members, friends, and neighbors. Pray for boldness that you might share the gospel with them.
Pray for revival in Cambridge/Boston and New England, that the Spirit of God would move powerfully in our region.
Recommended Song: “Facing A Task Unfinished” by Keith and Kristyn Getty