6/12/11 Acts 2:1-21
Leader: Pastor Biebert
Meeting Time: 8:00 AM & 10:15 AM
IGNITE THE FIRE
During the 40 days after Jesus came back to life, He still met with His friends to intensify their training. Then He disappeared back to heaven. Over the next 10 days the group of about 120 kept meeting each day. Pentecost (Greek for “50” from the translation of Leviticus 23:15) was a Jewish holiday a lot like our Thanksgiving Day. They also called it “Harvest holiday” or “Weeks holiday” (Leviticus 23:15-22).
Considering that Pentecost was a harvest holiday (Deuteronomy 16:9-10), why does God choose this day to give the Holy Spirit?
What do Matthew 3:11, Mark 1:8, Luke 3:16, John 1:33, and Acts 1:5 have in common? They all predict the Holy Spirit’s high-profile arrival at Pentecost. It helps to know that the Hebrew word ruach and the Greek word pneuma mean “spirit.” Both words also mean “air” and “wind.” On this occasion the wind was just a sound. The fire wasn’t real fire. It just looked like fire. We’re not even sure that witnesses outside the family of believers ever saw anyone at all ablaze.
Why did the Holy Spirit come so dramatically (2:1-4; Exodus 25:37; Isaiah 11:2)?
The Bible speaks of the Holy Spirit as a Person, an individual distinct from and yet One with the Father and the Son. As God, the Holy Spirit had various relationships with men in Old Testament times.
How far had these Jewish people on pilgrimages to the Holy City come (2:9-11)?
It is likely the believers were in the Temple when this occurred (Luke 24:53). The word house in Acts 2:2 can refer to the temple (see Acts 7:47). It is possible that all 120 spoke languages they’d never studied or learned. Since the majority of them were from Galilee, they could have been called Galileans. The references to the Twelve would have indicated they were the leaders of the 120.
Compare Peter and the other disciples in John 18:25-27 and 20:19 with their actions here. What accounts for the great difference?
The Greek word for “tongue” is glossa. It means “tongue-shaped” or “language.” The crowd at Pentecost could speak Greek or Aramaic. They didn’t need to hear the message in their own language. But God used a miracle to send a message about how He would spread the gospel. The word in 2:6, 8 is dialektô, which means “language,” not gibberish. This helps us understand what “tongues” means. Pentecost reversed the consequences of Babel when God confused human language (Gen. 11:1–9). That scattered people, but God’s blessing at Pentecost united the believers in the Spirit. At Babel, the people couldn’t understand each other. At Pentecost, people understood God’s message. Babel was all about making a name for people. Pentecost highlighted God’s reputation. The tower was an act of open rebellion. Pentecost saw people humbly submitting to God’ message.
How did some people confuse foreign languages with drunken babbling (2:12-13)?
When people drink too much, they lose control of themselves and make fools of themselves. When the Spirit fills us, He gives us self-control and makes us make sense. Adult beverages can bring a temporary exhilaration, but the Spirit gives a sense of satisfaction and a lasting joy.
Why did Peter use so many quotes from the Old Testament in his speech?
God used the image of the Spirit’s wind to revive the valley of dead bones in Ezekiel 37.
Hadn’t God’s Spirit come to people before this Old Testament prediction (2:17)? Explain.
Even more significant than the languages is the gift of the Holy Spirit. Pentecost, like the incarnation itself, is about God the Holy Spirit coming to us in our fallen condition.
What happened to the moon of blood and the darkened sun (2:19-20)?
The Holy Spirit uses the Bible message as His channel. People may decide to tune Him out. They may refuse to believe what He says about Jesus. When we let Him work, He helps people appreciate Jesus and His rescue plan. He prompts His people to talk about “the great things God has done.”
1. Could the Holy Spirit make this kind of dramatic appearance again?
2. Is it fair to say that the Holy Spirit has taken up residence in us? What are the benefits that come from Spirit-possession?
3. How does this section connect to John 16:5-11? What’s the connection to Joel 2:28-29?