It is late May, the Day of Pentecost. The past few months have been momentous. Almost two months ago the prophet from Nazareth was executed – crucified – by the Romans, although we hear it was instigated by the Jewish leaders. Yet within days many of his followers were saying that he had come back from the dead. Some claimed to have seen him within the past few weeks! You can’t help but wonder what might happen at Pentecost.
Jews from all over the world have come home for this great Jewish festival. It is now about nine o’clock on Sunday morning. Many have gathered for the morning sacrifice and prayers. Suddenly, we hear the sound of a great gust of wind but, strangely, we can’t feel even a breeze stirring the air.
We then see what looks like a large flame suddenly appear out of thin air and then divide into twelve parts and then sit on the head of twelve men, and then suddenly disappear. These men then begin to speak in languages that we know they could not know – after all they are Galileans and there is no way they could have been taught those languages.
What is going on? What does this mean? I can hear some around me beginning to suggest that these men are drunk. But it would be very early to be drunk, and especially on the day of a festival.
One of the Galileans gets up and starts to speak to us – he explains what is happening. He says that this is the fulfillment of an Old Testament prophecy by Joel (and he also mentioned that they aren’t drunk because it’s too early in the morning).
He then begins to tell us about the man named Jesus – the one that was killed. He mentioned the wonderful things that he did and says that this showed that God was with him. But despite this, he was delivered by us to be crucified by the Romans. Yet he says that even this was part of God’s plan. But he says this wasn’t the end of the story – that God raised him from death because death couldn’t hold him.
He then began to show us that this had all been recorded in our scriptures. David wrote about someone who would die but not decay and he couldn’t have been speaking about himself, as his tomb is still in the city. This man says that David was speaking about the Messiah, that he would be raised back to life from the dead. He then said that it was Jesus that God raised from the dead and is now at God’s right hand. Jesus must then be the Messiah! But we killed him!
He finished by saying that God made Jesus – the one we crucified – both Lord and Messiah. What were we to do? We killed the Messiah, the one we had for centuries been longing for!
The man was called Peter and he then said, “Repent, and each one of you be baptised 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 your children, and for all who are far away, as many as the Lord our God will call to himself” (Acts 2:38-39 NET)
Although we don’t know precisely where in Jerusalem all this happened, this is what happened that day not quite 2000 years ago. If you haven’t yet said “Yes” to Jesus as your Savior and Lord, let me urge you to do this. Go aside to a quiet place; prayerfully read Acts 2:22-47. Hear what they heard, ask what they asked and do what they did.
Readings for next week:
29 August – Acts 4
30 August – Acts 5
31 August – Acts 6
1 September – Acts 7:1-29
2 September – Acts 7:30-60