Text: Acts 2:1-47, Joel 2:28-32, Psalm 16:8-11
Big grew from small.
True to form, God chose a small house, in a small city, in a small country, to be fertile ground for a new gospel Kingdom—the one Jesus had been preaching about, training His disciples to understand, and preparing the Jews to anticipate.
On the day of Pentecost, the promised Holy Spirit burst forth into this Kingdom, rolling outward and across the city, the nation, and beyond. If the book of Acts is the birth story of the Church, then the coming of the Holy Spirit was the initiating event—the dramatic impetus powering every account we read about in the rest of the book.
So let’s take a closer look and mull this over a bit. Let’s take the time to appreciate the magnitude of what happened on that very first Pentecost.
He knew they were distraught, but Jesus assured His disciples that it was necessary for Him to leave the earth. It was for their benefit that He go so that Someone else—the Counselor and Advocate—could come “convict the world about sin, righteousness, and judgment” (John 16:5-8).
and the Holy Spirit would illuminate and convict.
Jesus held all knowledge,
and the Holy Spirit would come and declare those truths to the world.
Jesus had authority over the future,
and the Spirit would “declare what is to come” (John 16:13).
The Counselor is not a consolation prize. The Holy Spirit is God’s gift to the Church.
While Jesus’ coming was as quiet as a Holy Night, the Holy Spirit’s arrival was radical (Acts 2:2-4), and rightly so. It had to be. The impressive signs—the thunderous sound of wind, tongues of fire, and speaking in foreign languages—were intentionally bold, giving credence to the equally audacious claims the disciples were about to make. But their words would not be their own. When Jesus commissioned His uneducated, ragtag crew, He promised they would “be given what to say at that hour” (Matthew 10:19). The Spirit of God Himself would speak through them.
Peter’s first sermon showcased the power and authority of the Spirit (Acts 2:14-40). He delivered a rousing message, but not because of his religious pedigree or even his training under Jesus. Peter’s soul-splitting message was the Holy Spirit’s glory on display. Without such extravagant signs, the crowd most likely would have dismissed Peter’s outrageous claim that Jesus, the Messiah promised of old, was very much alive.
From that first sermon on, the Holy Spirit’s influence spread like holy concentric circles, empowering each new believer to live in a revolutionary way—selling personal possessions to meet the needs of others, sharing meals together, and living in harmony with other sinners (Acts 2:41-47). By the power of the Spirit, the early Church learned to do life together in gracious, generous, and intentional ways.
God’s new Kingdom was worthy of its epic announcement. As Jesus said new wine must be poured into new wineskins or both will be lost (Mark 2:22), this new Kingdom needed a new paradigm to be effective in spreading the gospel to the nations. God got their attention on that very first Pentecost. He allowed them to see the Holy Spirit on the move, rolling out like a wave across the city of Jerusalem and beyond, filling new believers with a power no one saw coming.
Jessie Minassian is an author, blogger, and speaker, who prefers to be known for her ability to laugh at herself, a weird obsession with nature-ish stuff, and a penchant for making up words. Learn more about Jessie and her ministry at LifeLoveandGod.com.