Key Verse: 2:17
“In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.”
1. Read verses 1-4. What is the day of Pentecost? Where were the
believers and what were they doing? What happened? What does this
suggest about the power of the Holy Spirit?
2. What happened to those who were filled with the Holy Spirit? (4-13)
What is the relationship of this event to the missionary command of
Jesus? In what way is it a contrast to Babel in Genesis 11?
3. Read verses 14-21. How did the Holy Spirit change the Apostles? How
did Peter explain? What does it mean for sons and daughters to
prophesy; for young men to see visions and old men to dream dreams?
4. Read verses 22-24. What facts about Jesus did Peter proclaim? How
did he view Jesus' crucifixion? Why is the resurrection so
5. Read verses 25-28. What was King David's resurrection hope? Why was
it important to him? Read verses 29-36. How did Jesus' resurrection
fulfill prophecy? What does this teach us about God?
6. Read verses 37-41. How should we respond to Jesus' crucifixion? To
his resurrection? What is God's promise to all who put their hope in
Jesus and receive forgiveness of sins?
7. Read verses 42-47. Describe the life of the believers after they
received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. What are some of the
changes that take place in people who are filled with the Holy
Acts chapter 2 speaks of the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost
after the ascension of Christ (1-21). Virtually, the coming of the Holy
Spirit at Pentecost was an epoch-making event in Bible history. We must
study what happened at the coming of the Holy Spirit. After the coming
of the Holy Spirit, the apostles became bold witnesses before the crowd
of the death and resurrection of Jesus (22-41). After the coming of the
Holy Spirit, the fellowship of the believers turned out to be a model
of the heavenly kingdom, where love and peace ruled (42-47). Today
let's think about what happened when the Holy Spirit came at
I. The coming of the Holy Spirit (1-21)
Look at verse 1. "When the day of Pentecost came, they were all
together in one place." It was ten days after Jesus' ascension. The
Feast of Pentecost was the Feast of the Harvest. Also, it commemorated
the promulgation of the Law at Mt. Sinai. Therefore, the day of
Pentecost was fitting to be the day for the promulgation of the gospel
to the whole world. They were all together in one place. Obviously
they were together praying, singing songs of praises for Jesus' death
and resurrection. At that moment, something very unusual happened. The
Holy Spirit came where they were. Here we learn something about the
First, the Holy Spirit came with power. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit
of power. The Holy Spirit is powerful like a violent wind, which can
shake anything. Look at verse 2. "Suddenly a sound like the blowing of
a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they
were sitting." Also, the Holy Spirit is as powerful as tongues of fire.
Look at verse 3. "They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that
separated and came to rest on each of them." As we know, the power of
fire is great. It can swallow with its tongues all the trees of a huge
mountain and its ranges in the twinkling of an eye. With its tongues,
fire can lick up a huge building in an instant. The Holy Spirit is the
Spirit of power. The Holy Spirit saves man from utter powerlessness.
The Holy Spirit fills man with strength and courage. The Holy Spirit
empowers men to be witnesses of the death and resurrection of Jesus.
In the past, the world long lay under the influence of evil spirits,
the agents of Satan. In the past, so many people tried to be powerful,
powerful enough to control their evil desires and emotions. But the
more they tried, the more they became powerless because they were under
the influence of evil spirits. The influence of evil spirits made young
men like old men, and old men, like little babies in diapers. The world
was sick and empty not because of trees, blooming flowers or men and
women, but because the world was under the influence of evil spirits.
But by the coming of the Holy Spirit, the season of evil spirits was
over and the season of Christ arrived.
Second, the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of wisdom. Look at verse 4. "All
of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other
tongues as the Spirit enabled them." The Holy Spirit enabled the
apostles to speak foreign languages freely. To master the basics of a
foreign language requires at least 6 months of diligent study. But the
Holy Spirit enabled them to speak foreign languages freely so that all
the listeners in the crowd could understand them well. The Holy Spirit
is the Spirit of wisdom. Evil spirits make man stupid, stubborn and
selfish. But the Holy Spirit makes man open-hearted, gentle and wise to
understand things in the minds of men, as well as the things of God.
In Jerusalem, there were staying God-fearing Jews from every nation
under heaven. Obviously, they came to Jerusalem to observe the Feast of
Pentecost (5). At the sound of international languages, all the people
there scratched their heads first to try to understand what was
happening. Then they stood bewildered and amazed and asked, "Are not
all these men who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of
us hears them in his own native language?" There were 15 kinds of
nationals who witnessed this event (9-11). Both Jews and proselytes
from these nations heard the apostles speaking in their own native
languages. This event declares that since the coming of the Holy
Spirit, there are no more human barriers. By the coming of the Holy
Spirit, man can communicate with God and with others as well. The fact
that the apostles were enabled to speak in foreign languages has deep
spiritual meaning in it.
When God made man and the world, there was only one language through
which all could praise God and comfort one another. But since Adam
sinned, mankind began to use language at random; with language they
expressed their proud minds; with language they rebelled against God by
building the Tower of Babel, which symbolized human civilization
without God. God saw that people had become proud. So he confused
their language so that they could not express their proud minds. This
was the beginning of the language barrier and confusion and
misunderstanding in human history. But by the coming of the Holy
Spirit, the language barrier is gone.
Third, the Holy Spirit enabled them to declare the wonders of God.
Verse 11b says, "...we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our
own languages." In the past, the apostles were slaves of their own
egos; they were fearful of everything. In the past, whenever they
opened their mouths, they expressed their despair and complaints. But
now, when the Holy Spirit came upon them, they began to speak "the
wonders of God." The Holy Spirit enabled them to open their minds to
see the wonders of God. The Holy Spirit made them so bold that they
began to witness without fear to the death and resurrection of Jesus.
The coming of the Holy Spirit was the dawn of a new age. The coming
of the Holy Spirit proved that the ascension of Jesus is the hinge of
human history. The coming of the Holy Spirit proved that God had
entered the human arena; therefore, to mankind, life and the world
would never be the same. The real cause of people's suffering is not
their bad human conditions, but the influence of evil spirits. For
example, one young woman was proud. So she suffered unbearably. She
used to say, "If I get a good job, the kind I want, then I will be a
nice person." But since she got the job she wanted, she became worse
than before. Man can be happy when he is under the influence of the
Holy Spirit. So we must earnestly seek the coming of the Holy Spirit.
Then we will experience that we can never be the same.
Fourth, the influence of the Holy Spirit (13-21). There was a wonderful
work of God among the apostles. Still, some made fun of them and said,
"They have had too much wine" (13). Peter stood and said in verse 15,
"These men are not drunk, as you suppose. It's only nine in the
morning." Peter began to explain that this was the fulfillment of God's
prophecy by Joel. Verses 16-21 are a quotation from Joel 2:28-32. God
promised that in the last days he would pour out his Spirit on all
people. He does not pour out his Spirit on certain people; he pours out
his Spirit on all people. What a great prophecy it is! What happens
when he pours out his Spirit on all people?
In the first place, "your young men will see visions." Verse 17b
says, "Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see
visions..." What a remarkable prophecy it is! Most parents worry about
how their children will survive in the world. Mostly, their
anticipation is pessimistic. Most young people are fearful about their
future. Most young people are just drifting with the current of world
trends, like dead fish. Generally, they are pessimistic about the
future, even though they work hard. They have no prophetic insight or
vision into the glorious future. But God promised that when he pours
out his Spirit, our sons and daughters will prophesy. They will speak
about what God will do for them, not about what congressmen will do.
When the Holy Spirit comes on them they will never say, "I don't know."
Instead, they will prophesy and see visions about the glorious future
world God is going to establish.
In the time of President Kennedy, many American young people were
filled with vision and frontier spirit. They were full of vision for
world peace by means of goodwill diplomacy. Nowadays, there is an
impression that young people struggle only to survive, with no
prophetic insight or vision. They seem to be blocked mentally because
of their worries. Let's pray that the Holy Spirit may come to us, that
each of us may have prophetic insight and glorious vision.
How about old men? They cannot prophesy about the future like young
men, because they are too old to do so. But they can dream dreams,
instead of suffering from arthritis. God includes people in the servant
class, both men and women, in the work of the Holy Spirit.
In the second place, many wonders and signs will be done. When the
Holy Spirit works we can see many wonders and miracles. Wonders and
signs are so great and fantastic that they are like the sun turning to
darkness and the moon to blood. Where the Holy Spirit works, the world
is not boring at all. The work of the Holy Spirit will be continuous
until the great and glorious day of the Lord (19,20). The most glorious
wonder and sign is not the change of natural phenomena, but salvation
work among men. Verse 21 says, "And everyone who calls on the name of
the Lord will be saved."
II. Peter's witness (22-41)
Peter addressed the crowd further concerning the resurrection of
Jesus. Look at verse 22. "Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of
Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and
signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know."
Here Peter explains that God had done great work through his Son Jesus
during his life on earth. In spite of his good work through healing the
sick and preaching the good news of the kingdom of God, what did his
own people do to him? Look at verse 23. "This man was handed over to
you by God's set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of
wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross." What did God
do about this good Jesus? Look at verse 24. "But God raised him from
the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was
impossible for death to keep its hold on him."
The crucifixion of Jesus is the greatest crime man has ever
committed against God in history. It also shows supremely what sin can
do. But Peter says that it was God's set purpose, and not merely evil
man's action. It was God who had planned Jesus' coming into the world
to be crucified on a cross for the sin of the world.
Why is the resurrection of Jesus so important? Without the hope of
resurrection, people are fearful and become shaky. King David had
everything. He was a musician, a poet, a warrior and a king. Above
all, he was a man after God's own heart. But he was sorry whenever he
thought about the fact that he would die and be abandoned to the grave.
He was even more sorry that he would be eaten by worms and maggots
after his burial. But when he saw God at his right hand, who had made
known to him the path of life, his heart was glad and his tongue
rejoiced. In brief, when he had resurrection faith in God, he could
breathe a sigh of relief (25-28).
In verses 29-35 Peter is out to prove that the death and
resurrection of Christ were the fulfillment of prophecy, and that they
are the final proof that Jesus is the Son of God. For example, David
died and was buried, and his tomb remains to this day. But he died in
peace, believing God's promise that he would raise one of his
descendants from the dead (30,31). Jesus died on the cross, but he was
not kept in the tomb. According to his promises, God raised Jesus from
the dead and exalted him to his right hand. Look at verses 32,33. "God
has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact.
Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the
promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear." As
Christians, we must believe the resurrection of Christ. Look at verse
36. "Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this
Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ."
How should we respond to the good news of the resurrection of
Christ? We must repent that we only had worldly hopes. We must put our
hope in the resurrection of Jesus and receive the forgiveness of sins.
We must also receive the gift of the Holy Spirit so that we may be
saved from this corrupt generation (38-40).
III. The fellowship of the believers (42-47)
After the crucifixion of Jesus, the disciples were gripped with
fear. Their lives were shattered, their hearts broken. But the coming
of the Holy Spirit changed these hopeless men into men pulsating with
confidence, from cowards into men of courageous faith. In the past, the
followers of Jesus, including the apostles, were individualistic and
pragmatic in many ways. Probably their catchphrase was, "That's none
of my business." Most of all, their hearts were ruled by despair and
selfishness. But after the resurrection of Christ and the coming of the
Holy Spirit, they became changed men. In the past, they were not
willing to listen to others. Probably they would say, "Are you talking
to me?" But now they were eager to listen to the apostles' teaching.
They were eager to share their sandwiches. They were eager to pray
instead of sleeping. They were filled with many "wows." They were able
to perform miraculous signs. They shared what they had with others in
Jesus. This part inspired Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels to write
their communist theory, leaving God out. But Christians at the coming
of the Holy Spirit shared what they had in God, singing songs of
praises. In brief, they were no more selfish and fearful; they were
joyful. Above all, they were filled with the Holy Spirit. Jesus' people
must receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and the Christian church
must be a fellowship of witnesses of the death and resurrection of