Showing posts with the label Pentecost

Tarrying for the Spirit?

Prior to his ascension, Jesus told his disciples to “ tarry ” or wait in Jerusalem until they received the Holy Spirit. In some churches, this command has become a doctrine applicable to all or most Christians – that the believer must “tarry” before the Lord for extended periods in prayer and even fasting until his or her mind or spirit enters a stage more conducive to God’s Spirit before receiving the gift of the Spirit.

Tongues in Jerusalem

When the Spirit was poured out on Pentecost, all 120 disciples present in the “ upper room ” were “ filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance .” Additionally, what appeared to be “ tongues of fire ” came to rest on each disciple. And so, two supernatural manifestations accompanied the arrival of the Spirit, one visual and the other audible.

To You is the Promise

After completing his sermon on Pentecost, Peter summons his audience to repent and be baptized “ in the name of Jesus Christ .” But something more than a call to accept the gospel is transpiring - he concludes his sermon on a note of  fulfillment  and with a foretaste of  things to come.

Signs on the Earth

The prophecy in the book of Joel sets the tone for Acts, including the signs and wonders that accompany the gospel  – Acts 2:17-21.  Jesus told the disciples to “ tarry in Jerusalem ”  UNTIL  they receive the Spirit, then to proclaim the “ kingdom of God ” in Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria, and the “ uttermost parts of the earth .” The book of  Acts  records how the early church carried out this mission under the power of the Spirit.

Pentecost - Outcome

The final paragraph of the second chapter of Acts summarizes the results of the Spirit’s outpouring. It describes the basic practices of the young congregation that resulted from the Spirit’s presence – Teaching, shared meals, fellowship, prayers, unity, and material support for individuals in need. The one unique feature is the holding of possessions “in common” under the administration of the Apostles.

First Sermon

On Pentecost, the Spirit of God descended on the disciples accompanied by audible and visual manifestations. As they were “ filled with the Spirit ,” they all began “ speaking in other tongues .” This caused confusion and questions among the Jewish pilgrims who witnessed the epochal event.

Pentecost and the Last Days

In the book of Acts , the application of Joel’s prophecy to the Day of Pentecost links the outpouring of the Spirit to the commencement of the “ last days .” In this book, the activity of the Spirit beginning on that day is essential for understanding the rapid spread of the gospel from Jerusalem to Rome, and from Pentecost until the arrival of Jesus in glory.

What Does This Mean?

In  Acts , the activity of the Spirit is essential to the life and growth of the church. The church was inaugurated by the outpouring of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost, and the young faith spread quickly from Judea to Samaria, Syria, Asia Minor, Greece, and finally, to the heart of the Roman Empire.

When Pentecost Arrived

The book of  Acts  lays stress on fulfillment. The things foreshadowed in the Hebrew scriptures are actualized when the disciples are “ filled with the Spirit and spoke in other tongues ” on Pentecost. This is the seminal event that marks the inauguration of the Church, the age of the Spirit, and the commencement of the final harvest.

Fulfillment of the Feast

In the book of  Acts , the outpouring of the Spirit on Pentecost stresses the theme of fulfillment. On that day, what was foreshadowed in the ancient feast began to receive its substance. The bestowal of the Spirit was an epochal event that marked the start of the messianic age, and the gift fulfilled what the Levitical feast symbolized.

In the Last Days

The application of Joel’s prophecy by Peter on the Day of Pentecost links the gift of the Spirit to the onset of the messianic age following Christ’s ascension and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and the latter signals the arrival of the “last days” and the inevitability if not imminence of the “Day of the Lord.”