The Biggest Little Day in Ecclesiastical History – Acts 2:1-13

As I was thinking about how to approach this chapter, I had to snicker just a little bit.

At first I considered just a verse by verse study rather than using a homiletical approach.

And I even thought about skipping right over the first thirteen verses, because there isn’t much theology here which we haven’t already looked at.

What made me giggle was the fact that so many Protestants, including the Baptist variety, make the Day of Pentecost the biggest little day in ecclesiastical history.

But there was I – tempted to skip over it, because in some ways it is so small.

Finally I did decided on an outline, homiletical approach.

Let’s think about Pentecost fully coming; Pentecost’s Christian filling and Pentecost’s chaotic fervor.

When the Day of Pentecost was FULLY COME.

I have read the words of verse 1 so many times, that I have them memorized.

And perhaps some of you might say the same thing.

But I have to admit that it’s been a long time since I seriously thought about what it says?

For example, can you tell me what exactly the Day of Pentecost is?

How many of us know how many times the word “Pentecost” is found in the Bible?

Pentecost was an Old Testament festival – a Biblically ordained day for the worship of the Lord.

And we remember that the New Testament teaches that the Old Testament rites and ceremonies illustrated different things about our Saviour.

So how many times is the word “Pentecost” found in the Old Testament? Never.

In fact, this word is found only three times in the New Testament:

Here, and twice by Paul describing his itinerary and schedule:

He planned to be in Jerusalem by PentecostActs 20:18.

And he told the Corinthians that he would “tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost” I Corinthians 16:8.

So the word “Pentecost” is relatively rare.

Here’s another question: What is the true name for Pentecost? The Feast of Weeks.

So what is Pentecost?

As many of you know, “Pentecost” means “the fiftieth day.”

Turn to Deuteronomy 16:

Notice verse 1: “Observe the month of Abib, and keep the passover unto the LORD thy God: for in the month of Abib the LORD thy God brought thee forth out of Egypt by night.

Now skip down to verse 9: “Seven weeks shalt thou number unto thee: begin to number the seven weeks from such time as thou beginnest to put the sickle to the corn.

And thou shalt keep the FEAST OF WEEKS unto the LORD thy God with a tribute of a freewill offering of thine hand, which thou shalt give unto the LORD thy God, according as the LORD thy God hath blessed thee:

And thou shalt rejoice before the LORD thy God, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy manservant, and thy maidservant, and the Levite that is within thy gates, and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, that are among you, in the place which the LORD thy God hath chosen to place his name there.

And thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in Egypt: and thou shalt observe and do these statutes.

Notice the time frame of seven weeks – 49 days.

Earlier, in Leviticus 23 Moses described the Passover and then in verse 15 he said:

“And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete:

Even unto the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto the LORD.

Ye shall bring out of your habitations two wave loaves of two tenth deals: they shall be of fine flour; they shall be baken with leaven; they are the firstfruits unto the LORD.

And ye shall offer with the bread seven lambs without blemish of the first year, and one young bullock, and two rams: they shall be for a burnt offering unto the LORD, with their meat offering, and their drink offerings, even an offering made by fire, of sweet savour unto the LORD.

Then ye shall sacrifice one kid of the goats for a sin offering, and two lambs of the first year for a sacrifice of peace offerings.

And the priest shall wave them with the bread of the firstfruits for a wave offering before the LORD, with the two lambs: they shall be holy to the LORD for the priest.

And ye shall proclaim on the selfsame day, that it may be an holy convocation unto you: ye shall do no servile work therein: it shall be a statute for ever in all your dwellings throughout your generations.”

The title “PENTECOST” was a kind of nickname for the Feast of Weeks.

It was called “Pentecost” because it took place seven weeks and one day after the Passover.

And do you remember that I said that the feasts of the Israel were typical of the Saviour?

Deuteronomy 16 reminded Israel that on the Feast of Weeks they were to note two things:

First, they were to remember their redemption from Egypt.

And then they were offer a variety of sacrifices all the way from burnt offerings to peace offerings.

In Leviticus we see more clearly that the Feast of Weeks was essentially a “Thanksgiving Day.”

And then we move into the New Testament and past the cross.

For the Christian the Passover meant the sacrifice of the Lamb and the institution of our salvation.

The Feast of Pentecost was meant to be, among other things, a day of thanksgiving.

Praise the Lord, we’ve been saved for 50 days now – a jubilee of days.

It was also a day of harvest.

As we shall see, the Day of Pentecost was a great day of evangelism.

Indeed the fields were white unto harvest and 3,000 souls were gleaned on that single day.

There is one other thing about Pentecost:

The Jewish commentaries suggest that the giving of the law on Mount Sinai, took place on the fiftieth day after Israel’s departure from Egypt.

In other words, the law of was given on the fiftieth day after the first Passover.

But, there is no Biblical authority to make this claim.

Okay then, what does the Bible mean when it says that “the day of Pentecost was fully come?”

One of the things that sets the Feast of Weeks apart from the Feast of the Passover or the Feast of Tabernacles,

Was that the Feast of Weeks didn’t last a week, while the others did.

Pentecost was supposed to be a single day.

If the Bible ever said, “when the Passover was fully come,” we might think that it spoke of the specific day rather than the entire week.

But that doesn’t help to explain this verse.

Some commentaries suggest that it means that all fifty days were complete and the Spirit descended.

But that it kind of redundant.

If the Holy Spirit came on the 47th day or the 49th day then it wouldn’t have been Pentecost.

Here’s what I think that Luke and the Holy Spirit were saying:

The way that you and I tell time, our day could start when we get out of bed, or perhaps at sun-up.

But actually, somebody decided that our day starts at mid-night.

Under the Jewish system a day started at sundown the previous day.

It appears to me that verse 1 is saying that the clock said that they were well into the Day of Pentecost.

It wasn’t 6:00 in the evening, when Pentecost technically commenced, but rather 9 a.m. the next day.

The events of Acts 2 took place when the day was fully come.

That brings us to Pentecost and THE CHRISTIANS’ FILLING.

John Gill insists that the church was meeting in one of the rooms of the Temple, but I have to wonder.

That would certainly explain the crowd and the site where Peter preached his Pentecostal sermon.

But verse 2 says that it was a house, an “oikos”, and that is all that “oikos” means.

I personally think that this may have taken place at John Mark’s mother’s house, where we find the church meeting in chapter 12.

And who were present?

“And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, THEY WERE ALL with one accord in one place.”

I think that the context requires us to believe that it was essentially the entire congregation.

But that then leaves us with the question: were all the members involved in the evangelism here?

Personally, I think so, but I’m not sure exactly what they were all doing.

As the chapter began they appear to still be intent in prayer.

Then suddenly there was the sound of a rushing mighty wind.

Don’t picture a big blast of wind, with toupees and veils flying off toward a corner of the room.

The Bible says that it was only the SOUND of a mighty rushing wind.

Everyone knew that something was happening, but it wasn’t anything that they had experienced before.

It was the presence of the power of the Holy Spirit and it filled the entire house.

Did this windy sound sweep over the Mount of Olives and in through the Eastern Gate?

It doesn’t appear so.

First, the Bible says that it came from Heaven, not from Bethany, or Caesarea.

It may have come straight down from the sky above the house.

And then the Bible says that it only filled that house, not the city nor the streets outside.

As we said a couple of weeks ago, when the room in which assembled church was filled by the Spirit of God,

Then that assembled church was IMMERSED in the Spirit.

This was the Holy Spirit BAPTISM which had been prophesied and anticipated.

It was almost exactly like the Lord’s filling of Solomon’s Temple and the Tabernacle of the Congregation.

In those two cases, all the instruments and vessels inside each house of worship were baptized by the Shekinah glory of God.

In this case the room was filled, and the church was baptized by the Holy Spirit.

The church has been approved and sanctified by God.

In addition to that, its members were also filled with the Spirit,

And the entire church was empowered by the Lord for it’s first major evangelistic thrust.

There appeared something that looked like candle flames sitting on each of the people present.

Were those tongues of pseudo-flames large or small? It doesn’t say.

Was there one group of flames that then moved from person to person,

Or did everyone have their own personal flame? It doesn’t clearly tell us.

Were any of them burned? It doesn’t say, but it doesn’t appear that they were.

This portion of the miracle, reminds me of Isaiah standing before the throne of God.

There was a seraphim who took a live coal from the altar and who placed it on the lips of the preacher.

With that touch he was sanctified and enabled him to be the witness that Jehovah needed.

Were these tongues of fire something similar?

The scripture seems to say that everyone of the people present were filled with the Holy Spirit.

That is, they were filled with the power of the Spirit.

They had already willingly made themselves available to the Lord to be used however He wanted.

And now, He was accepting their offering.

And as a corollary to that they began to speak in languages other than Greek, Hebrew or Aramaic.

Speaking in tongues and the filling of the Spirit are not synonymous.

Speaking in tongues and the baptism of the Spirit are not synonymous.

In this case they were all parallel events.

The word “tongue” in both verse 3 and in verse 4 is the Greek word “glossa.”

Theologically, speaking in other tongues is properly called “glossolalia.”

And obviously, true “glossolalia” has nothing to do with unintelligible gibberish.

The gift of tongues is the divine ability to speak in a foreign language which the speaker had not had the opportunity to learn naturally.

It is the opposite to the miracle at the Tower of Babel.

It appears to me that after the baptism and the filling, the church members left their secluded room and went out toward the temple.

As they went, they enthusiastically witnessed of what they knew of the Saviour.

But what was so special was that they spoke in the native languages of the people that they met.

They spoke in Median, Cyrenian, Phrygian, Egyptian, Coptic and other tongues.

And as news of this quickly spread, people from all over the city began to congregate, probably in the courtyard of the Temple.

And that brings us to our third point: the CHAOTIC FERVOR.

As I said, the city of Jerusalem was filled with Jews visiting from around the world.

We have here a list of countries from Iran to Rome.

And those who had the privilege to hear, heard the gospel in their native “glossas.”

Some of those people were thrilled, not only to hear their own dialects, but also thrilled to hear the gospel.

But man has from the beginning of time tried to explain away the miraculous.

Sometimes those miracles are so serious that the denials are very serious.

But sometimes, as in this case, the unbeliever simply chooses to make fun of what he doesn’t understand.

“These men are full of new wine” at 9:00 in the morning.

Between those who wanted to hear more and those who were laughing at the whole thing,

The stage was set for Peter’s momentous and powerful, Day of Pentecost sermon.