Read Acts 2:1-12
1When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
5Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 6When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. 7Utterly amazed, they asked: "Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans? 8Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language? 9Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11(both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs — we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!" 12Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, "What does this mean?" (NIV)
This passage has so much going on. Luke tells us that this happened on the day of Pentecost. Pentecost is the Jewish Festival and marks the end of the harvest festival or Feast of Weeks which is a week of weeks or 49 days. Pentecost is thus the 50th day after the beginning of the festival which is the Passover celebration.
As we look at this passage, we see that the promise of the Holy Spirit by Jesus is happening. The early church struggled with what to do with the Holy Spirit. Out of this struggle came the concept of the Trinity. It was finally agreed upon that the Holy Spirit was of the same substance as the Father and the Son. That the Holy Spirit was God and was a new way God was going to interact with humanity. The Spirit was present in the Old Testament writings, but the concept of the Spirit being present in one’s life every day was not. We see also in this passage that the spirit would come to be seen as fire and wind.
When we get to the verses 5-12, many scholars point to the connection of this story to the story of the Tower of Babel. The connection is that they are opposites in what is happening. In the story of the Tower of Babel, division and confusion is the result of the story. The people were divided by hearing of different languages. But in the story of Pentecost, the people are brought into unity by hearing. Though many languages are present, all hear the same thing.
Luke tells us in Acts 1:8 that Jesus told the disciples to what would happen to the disciples when the Holy Spirit came. He said, “you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (NIV) We see that the Holy Spirit gave the disciples the power to be witnesses of Christ to the world. And that is part of what the Holy Spirit does for us.
The Spirit works in our lives from the moment we are born. It is the Holy Spirit that calls us to come to Christ. And once we say yes to Christ, it is the Spirit that helps us with our purpose, the task we are given to do as a disciple. It is the Spirit that equips us for this service. We don’t do this on our own, but through the power of the Holy Spirit.
The question for us is How do you experience the Holy Spirit each day? Does the Holy Spirit help you see that God is a God who interacts with you in a personal way? Are there things you can do today only because of the power of the Holy Spirit?
Blessings and Peace