Last Updated on May 6, 2023 by Scriptures for Today
It was time for the feast of Pentecost, a holy day when Jews from everywhere came to Jerusalem to worship at the temple, just as they did for the feast of Passover. When the Day of Pentecost came all those who had gathered in the upper room were praying with one thought in mind: to receive the Holy Spirit.
Suddenly there came a sound from heaven like a mighty, rushing wind, and it filled the entire room where they were sitting. They saw what looked like tongues of fire that divided and rested upon each of them. Then they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. In other words, they miraculously spoke in languages they had not learned as the initial sign that they had been filled with the Holy Spirit.
And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. (Acts 2:1-4 KJV)
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They had tarried, and God had fulfilled His promise’ the tarrying was over at last! The Comforter of their souls had come. The Spirit of their risen Lord now dwelt in their hearts.
People in the streets below heard the noise and the rejoicing. Jews from many lands who had come for the feast of Pentecost gathered around to see and hear for themselves what was happening. They were amazed to hear the disciples of Jesus speaking in different languages.
These Jews all spoke a common language – Aramaic – but the Galilean disciples were speaking in the various languages of the countries on which the onlookers had been born.
“What does this all mean?” some asked.
Others mocked and made fun. “These people are drunk,” they said. “They are full of new wine.” (See Acts 2:5-13).
But Peter, who was full of the Holy Spirit, stood up boldly and began to preach. (See Acts 2:14-40).
“These men are not drunk as you think, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. But this is the fulfillment of the prophecy of prophet Joel: God said that in the last days He would pour out His Spirit upon all flesh.”
Peter realized that he had seen such a crowd as this before when Jesus was crucified. Many of the same people who had mocked Jesus and cried “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” were present on the Day of Pentecost, about seven weeks later.
“Men of Israel, hear me well!” Peter continued.
“Jesus of Nazareth was approved by God among you by miracles and wonders and signs. But you have crucified and slain Him! You saw His signs, wonders, and miracles, but you rejected Him.”
“But God has raised Him up! Let all of you know assuredly that this same Jesus, whom you have crucified, is both Lord and Christ!”
Many of the people who listened became convicted of their sins as they heard Peter’s message and began to cry out, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37). Peter, with the support of all the other apostles, instructed them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:38). This answer contains three elements, and it applies to us today as well.
First, we must repent. Repentance is an identification with the death of Jesus. It includes godly sorrow for sins, confession of sins to God, and a decision to forsake sins. It is a turn from sin to God.
Second, we are commanded to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins. Baptism is an identification with the burial of Jesus (Romans 6:4). The name of Jesus is invoked because it is the only saving name and the name by which we receive remission of sins (Acts 4:12; 10:43). When we are baptized in the name of Jesus, God washes away our sins forever, based on the atoning sacrifice of Jesus (Acts 22:16). The Lord will forget every sin that we have committed and wipe it from our record when we repent and are buried with Him in baptism.
Third, we are to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is an identification with the resurrection of Jesus. Peter promised that everyone could receive the same wonderful experience that the disciples received on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:39). Through the gift of the Holy Spirit, we receive a new spiritual life (John 3:5; 1 Corinthians 12:13). We also receive power, righteousness, peace, and joy (Acts 1:8; Romans 14:17).
How beautiful it is to realize that for almost two thousand years God has made available this marvelous plan for our salvation and that His plan will work for everyone, regardless of age, race, gender, nationality, or social status. It is for us all!
Salvation carries with it no high price tag for us; it is available to the rich and poor alike. Jesus wants everyone to receive eternal life (John 3:16). Salvation is a free gift of God’s grace, and we receive it through faith in Jesus (Ephesians 2:9-9). The death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus purchased our salvation; we receive it when we identify with His work for us by believing and obeying His word.
Thus we see God’s simple plan to bring us eternal life. To enter the New Testament church, we must simply repent, be baptized in Jesus’ name, and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Why not start right now?
Click here to print or download the Bible study “The Day of Pentecost – Birth of the Early Church“