The Coming of the Holy Spirit
 When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place.  And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.  And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them.  And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.
 Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven.  And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language.  And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans?  And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language?  Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,  Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome,  both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.”  And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?”  But others mocking said, “They are filled with new wine.”
Peter’s Sermon at Pentecost
 But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them: “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words.  For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day.  But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel:
 “‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh,
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
and your young men shall see visions,
and your old men shall dream dreams;
 even on my male servants and female servants
in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.
 And I will show wonders in the heavens above
and signs on the earth below,
blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke;
 the sun shall be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood,
before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day.
 And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’
 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.  God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.  For David says concerning him,
“‘I saw the Lord always before me,
for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken;
 therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced;
my flesh also will dwell in hope.
 For you will not abandon my soul to Hades,
or let your Holy One see corruption.
 You have made known to me the paths of life;
you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’
 “Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day.  Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne,  he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption.  This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses.  Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing.  For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says,
“‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at my right hand,
 until I make your enemies your footstool.”’
 Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”
 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”  And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.”  And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.”  So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls. (ESV)
- The Holy Spirit empowered the Church to bear witness about Jesus.
This text has proven to be confusing for many people, though it need not be. Jesus had commissioned the disciples to disciple the nations. This would require a special linguistic bridge. In this text, we read how the Holy Spirit empowered the disciples to speak the languages (dialects) of the nations, though they themselves had no previous experience speaking these foreign languages. These languages were known and understood by those who heard the preaching (Acts 2:7-8).
- Jesus didn’t come to start a new religion or movement. Rather, he came as the fulfillment of the Old Testament.
As Peter addresses the crowd, he reminds them that what has taken place in the life of Jesus is nothing less than what the Old Testament prophets had foretold. He then goes on to quote from Joel the Prophet. Additionally, Peter appeals to King David, being careful to point out how David himself, through the Psalms, had spoken of the coming of Jesus Christ. Furthermore, Peter refers to the promise God made to Abraham, connecting Jesus with the most famous of Jewish Patriarchs (Acts 2:39). He proves that Jesus did not come to do away with the Old Testament, but rather to fulfill it (Matthew 5:17).
- The Gospel demands a response.
This is the first sermon recorded in Acts. In it, we have a faithful and biblical model of Gospel preaching. Peter did not stand up to give the people good advice or practical wisdom on how to live their lives. Peter stood up to proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord and that he was crucified and raised on the third day just as the Scriptures had foretold. This was proclaimed both faithfully and forcefully so that the people knew a decision had to be made. Peter called the people to turn from their sins and to put their faith and trust in Jesus. He called the people to repent and be baptized. In doing so, Peter gives us a powerful example of what preaching is supposed to look like in the Church.
- Acts 2:1-13 can be a confusing text. What questions do you have about what is happening in this part of the story?
- In what sense is Acts 2:1-13 an answer to the curse at the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11?
- What Old Testament evidence does Peter offer to prove that Jesus is the Christ?
- What effect did the Gospel have upon those who heard it? How would you explain the crowd’s response?
Call to Worship
 O LORD, God of my salvation,
I cry out day and night before you.
 Let my prayer come before you;
incline your ear to my cry!
 For my soul is full of troubles,
and my life draws near to Sheol.
 I am counted among those who go down to the pit;
I am a man who has no strength,
 like one set loose among the dead,
like the slain that lie in the grave,
like those whom you remember no more,
for they are cut off from your hand.
 Is your steadfast love declared in the grave,
or your faithfulness in Abaddon?
 Are your wonders known in the darkness,
or your righteousness in the land of forgetfulness?
 But I, O LORD, cry to you;
in the morning my prayer comes before you. (ESV)
Prayer of Confession
Most merciful God, whose Son Jesus Christ was tempted in every way, yet without sin, we confess before You our own sinfulness; we have hungered after that which does not satisfy; we have compromised with evil; we have doubted Your power to protect us. Forgive us for our lack of faith; have mercy on our weakness. Restore us in such trust and love that we may walk in Your ways and delight in doing Your will. We ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.