Peter’s Pentecost Sermon
Open Your Bible
Acts 2:1-47, Joel 2:28-32, John 7:37-39
A few weeks ago, I followed the long, eucalyptus-scented stretch of Highway 1 to the ocean and laid a picnic blanket down at an overlook. The view offered a panorama of the rhythmic tide and seagulls sailing over the waves like paragliders. As is always the case, it was windy. Really windy. But after three hours in the car, I didn’t mind it. The constant gusts lifted my spirit along with my hair, ruining the work of a good curling iron by tossing it in every direction. I felt electrified, filled, and breathed into. Fully alive. Grabbing my journal and a pen, I tried to capture the joy of this experience with a few words:
Pneuma is the Greek word for “Spirit” or “breath.” It’s here in these open, windy places where I feel this breath on my skin, and in my hair, that I’m most able to sense and inhabit the presence of my God.”
On the day of Pentecost, the Jewish people staying in Jerusalem also experienced the presence of God through the movement of wind. And not just any wind—not a gust or a light breeze, but a “violent rushing wind” (Acts 2:2). Can you imagine what that must have sounded like? Or felt like? Or how it must have knocked about their belongings in that house? Of course, all this was promised in the words of the prophet Joel: “And it will be in the last days, says God, that I will pour out my Spirit on all people” (Acts 2:17; Joel 2:28). Yet certainly not even this prophecy could have prepared these men for the power and terror of that moment.
What’s also interesting is how this heaven-charged wind didn’t just rush through the windows where God’s people were staying and then rush back out. It filled the people themselves. Along with tongues of fire resting on each person, it filled the house with the electrifying presence of God through the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:3–4).
So, why do you think God used such a dramatic method for confirming that the promised Holy Spirit had arrived? When I read this story, I see power. Besides being a God who keeps His promises (v.33), He is also more powerful than a violent wind and pours out His own Spirit on us, so we can walk in it with the same kind of power and authority.
I’m sure the Jewish men and women gathering to observe Pentecost—a feast to celebrate the first fruits of harvest—didn’t expect to witness such a moment. But the Holy Spirit moves within those who believe as “streams of living water” (John 7:38), and it is often surprising. Today, may we remember the power and authority of God within us and walk in it.