While he was with them, he declared, “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait there for what my Father promised, which you heard about from me. For John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” (Acts 1:4-5, NET)
One of the last instructions from Jesus to His disciples before He ascended was to remain in Jerusalem and wait for the promised outpouring of the Holy Spirit. As instructed by the Lord, the disciples and other believers, about 120 people in total, returned from the Mount of Olives to the city in anticipation of the promise. Acts 1:14 tells us that as they gathered together in an upper room, they “continued with one accord in prayer and supplication.” God can do amazing things when we bind together in unity.
This was a busy time in Jerusalem. Throughout the city, the streets hummed with activity as “Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven” (Acts 2:5) gathered to celebrate the Feast of Pentecost, also known as the Feast of Weeks or Firstfruits. This feast took place fifty days after Passover.
On the morning of the feast day, the 120 followers of Jesus still waited in one accord. Then it happened! With the sound of a mighty wind and the appearance of divided flames of fire, those gathered began to speak in languages they had never learned (Acts 2:2-4). Soon, word of these strange happenings drew the attention of those in the city. It was an amazing sight, but the gathering crowd was of a divided opinion on what it all meant. They showed amazement, doubt, and even scorn. Were these people drunk so early in the morning?
Then Peter stepped forward and began to preach. Oh, what a sermon it was! This was what the prophet Joel meant (Joel 2:28-29), he declared. His convicting message caused the listeners to cry out, “What shall we do?” Peter had the answer!
“Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38, NKJV).
That day about 3,000 responded to his words and received their own Pentecostal experience. And that was just the beginning of this mighty move of God.
These events happened more than 2,000 years ago. What does this mean for me? For you? Is it still relevant in our 21st-century life? Absolutely. Acts 2:39 declares:
“For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”
Yes, we live in a different time and place than those early believers, but I am confident of this:
- The message has not changed. It is still God’s plan of salvation.
- The experience has not changed. God still pours out His Spirit on all who seek Him.
- The evidence of receiving the Holy Spirit is still speaking in other tongues.
- God’s Spirit still brings power into our lives and makes us witnesses (Acts 1:8).
When those devout men from so many different nations returned to their homelands, they carried with them the testimony of what happened on the Day of Pentecost. They gave an eyewitness account of the fulfilled promise of this marvelous outpouring of God’s Spirit. Now the story is ours to believe, to experience, and to share. This promise is given to every generation.