Pentecost was a day that changed Christianity. This event was the first time that the Holy Spirit came down to indwell believers. Luke’s description of this event in Acts 2 has created many issues that need to be addressed in order to have a complete understanding of the event and other surrounding issues. In the modern church, Pentecost is often overshadowed by holidays celebrating the birth of Christ or His death and resurrection. This is unfortunate, because while these days have great significance to the Christian, Pentecost is just as important of an event to the church. Luke’s presentation of the events of Pentecost in Acts 2 will be described. Attempts will be made to ...view middle of the document...
According to Fitzmyer, “The event of Pentecost, then, was not merely the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Jesus’ followers, but also the first Spirit-filled proclamation of ‘the word of the Gospel’ made by the spokesman of the group, Peter, to the Jews in Jerusalem”.
Location of the house where the 120 were gathered
One of the contextual issues that we see in Acts 2 concerns the location of the house where the 120 were gathered when the Holy Spirit came upon them. Acts 2:1 says “When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place.” Now, the house would need to be large enough to contain all 120 followers of Jesus Christ. Luke does not specify where it was that they were gathered. Acts 1:12-14 talks about them meeting regularly in the upper room after Jesus’ ascension. “And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God (Luke 24:53, NIV). It is likely that the disciples were gathered in the same upper room when the Holy Spirit descended. The location of the upper room is usually thought of being in a house, probably owned by one of the disciples or in a room of the temple. These followers were gathered together on a day that was a Jewish holiday making it likely that they were gathered in the temple. After the Holy Spirit came, a large crowd gathered and three thousand ended up believing. It is unlikely that they were gathered at a disciple’s home since a Jewish home in this time period would not have room for a crowd of that magnitude to have gathered. The only feasible area that would be large enough for a crowd like that to gather in Jerusalem would be around the temple. Also, this occurred when it was time for the morning service at the temple which makes it likely that the temple is where the followers were gathered. “These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It's only nine in the morning!” (Acts 2:15, ESV).
Pentecost is a Jewish holiday that occurs fifty days after the Passover Sabbath. This holiday is also known as the Feast of Weeks. Leviticus 23:15-22 describes the Festival of Weeks. God commanded the Jews to celebrate the Feast of Weeks in Exodus 23:16 when He said “Celebrate the Festival of Harvest with the first fruits of the crops you sow in your field. Celebrate the Festival of Ingathering at the end of the year, when you gather in your crops from the field.” Exodus 23:17 says “Three times in the year shall all your males appear before the Lord God.” The Feast of Weeks is one of the three times when all males were to appear before God which explains why so many were gathered near the temple on the day of Pentecost.
Descent of the Spirit
The symbolism that comes along with the descent of the spirit is meant to allow us to recognize the Holy Spirit as part of the Trinity. The noise, wind and fire are similar to how God revealed Himself in Exodus 19:16-19. All of the signs that accompanied the descent of the Holy Spirit were meant to ensure that the disciples knew they were...