Acts 2: 1-36 – The World Behind the Text

rootedchristThis is the last of our weeks where we are are looking at post-resurrection experiences that people have with Jesus.  This week is not so much an encounter with Jesus as it is the Holy Spirit.  This week we are going to be looking at what happened on Pentecost and the giving of the Holy Spirit.  We’ll be looking at Acts 2: 1-36.  We won’t share the entire text here since it is so long, but you can read this passage by clicking here.

We’ve talked this week about what Pentecost is in Jewish history and what exactly the Holy Spirit does in our lives.  Today, let’s look at the world behind the text. Take a moment to go back and read this passage. It’s one of our longer ones that we’ve looked at recently, but there is much for us to understand and to know.  We have already talked several times about the book of Acts is the second part of a two-volume history with the Gospel of Luke.  Luke is telling us the story of Jesus – the Gospel and the story of the early church – Acts.

Thinking that way shows us why Luke spends so much time on Pentecost.  It is the birth story of the church.  And if you go back to the Gospels, which Gospel gives the most in-depth look at Jesus’ birth?  Luke.  Luke 2 is the well-loved Christmas passage that so many of us read on Christmas Eve or as part of our Christmas activities.  Luke wants you to see what happens here at Pentecost as tied into the great whole of the Gospel. He also wants you to see that what happens at Pentecost is tied into the whole of Scripture as seen in the Old Testament.  Remember, Luke is Gentile, yes, and writing to a Gentile audience, but is wanting to show them that this is part of the greater picture that God is creating. So, the church is deeply rooted in the life of Jesus Christ. And Jesus is deeply rooted in the Jewish heritage of the Old Testament.  So, what does Peter do (and Luke record)?  Peter preaches from the prophet Joel.  This, at first seems like an account you find in the more Jewish Gospel, Matthew.  But Luke is tying it all together.  It’s like when you watch a well done musical, you’ll hear the same melody throughout, leading to the pivotal moment. That is what has happened here.  Luke is showing us how the same melody has been played all throughout scripture.  From the beginning, to the law, the prophets and now.  And what is that melody?  The life that is found in Jesus Christ.  That is what we are seeing here.  And all who confess will have that life.

One more quick thing. The story of scripture is redemption.  Understand Pentecost at the bookend of Babel. At Babel, the one came together and left as many. At Pentecost, the many came together and left as one.  Sin separates and divides.  Jesus brings together and unites.

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