How can we explain that within two centuries this group became the most dominant influence in the world? The Roman Empire toppled without military or political power by followers of Jesus. The Emperor Constantine declared his allegiance to Jesus.
The book of Acts is a story of something that had happened to Christ’s followers after He arose and ascended. They received something that transformed them. They were filled with some transcendent power. It happened on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-13) and was a fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy. It ushered in a new age of the Kingdom that will be consummated with the second coming of Christ. When restoration is complete, we dwell together (a representative of every nation and tribe) with God in a New Heaven and a New Earth.
WHAT WAS PENTECOST ALL ABOUT?
“When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place” (v.1). Why did the Holy Spirit arrive on that day? What was the Holy Spirit doing in them that was so significant?
1. Pentecost was the feast of the firstfruits
In an agrarian culture, harvest was very significant. When the “firstfruits” of the harvest were brought in and eaten, thanksgiving was made to God for their firstfruits and they celebrated God’s goodness. Israel’s harvest happened 50 days after Passover. This is where we get the word Pentecost, as it meant “50 days.”
2. Pentecost was a celebration
The Jews viewed Pentecost as the time when celebration was made for being delivered from slavery. It was 50 days after their redemption that God gave the Law through Moses to His people. Pentecost was a celebration of God meeting Moses face to face to give him the Law.
The Acts 2 event was 50 days after Christ was crucified, which marked the establishment of the Church as she celebrates the true “firstfruits.” The church received God’s power to go into the world as His representatives.
The Holy Spirit’s coming on the day of Pentecost tells us something about the purpose of the Spirit coming and what it means to be filled. When the Spirit fills you, you are brought into the presences of three things. Those present at Pentecost experienced this also:
- The presence of the future
- The presence of the Lord
- The presence of the nations