As a charismatic, Acts 2 is hugely familiar to me and well loved. I’ve preached and written on it many times, so I was hungry for fresh insights! This time I found the Lord drawing me to Old Testament parallels beyond the quoted Joel 2.
This passage is the one where the Spirit promised, becomes the Spirit provided. And what a provision! The private prayer meeting of a modest band of 120 becomes a bustling public affair attracting the attention of representatives from “every” nation under heaven – “every” is an exaggeration, but the list does frame a box around Jerusalem suggesting a broad sampling of the nations.
The passage morphs from the scenarios of a secret passage through backstreets and alleyways and much more like a parade down the mainstreet. Suddenly now revelation is less in the isolated zones of the wilderness (Think Exodus and John the Baptist) and the desert and more of the city (8:40) and the home (2:42-47).
In Ex 19:10-20 God came down in a theopany to give the law. Pentecost was a Jewish festival that celebrated the giving of the Law and the renewal of the covenant. Now Pentecost is forever associated with the giving of the Spirit, the grace of God and the birth of the church, filled with believer set free from the law.
In Isaiah 6 the glory of God vcame in the temple in smoke and fire. At Pentecost glory came as tongues of fire and people became the new Temple the dwelling place of God on the earth.
At the tower of Babel, men built a tower to try and reach the heavens. At that time, God created languages to thwart their plans to be God. Now God has reached down from the heaven and given languages to spread the good news about Himself. The curse of Babel is broken in preparation for every tribe and tongue, receiving the Gospel.
The Gospel is amazing in its transformative power. The crowd were those who had been baying “Crucify Him!” Then they ae cut to the heart by the Spirit’s conviction and then they are converted on masse and become an amazing community devoted to being taught, to praying, to breaking bread together and to fellowship. The favour of God was evident resulting in favour from the people round about and many more getting saved day by day. How we long for more Pentecostal power!