Have you ever anticipated something great? Graduation? Your
wedding day? The birth of a child or grandchild? Thinking of these
issues, you can perhaps get a feel for the great anticipation
fostered in the apostles when Jesus said, “Truly I say to you,
there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste
death until they see the kingdom of God after it has come with
9:1). Then again when Jesus said, “It is not for you to
know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own
authority; but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has
come upon you” (Acts
1:7-8). Can you imagine what the apostles thought as they
woke up each morning following these statements? “Is today going
to be that day?” Then 50 days following Jesus’ resurrection
and 10 days following his ascension on the day of Pentecost it
happened. The Holy Spirit came upon the apostles with great power
and Christ’s kingdom was established. Read Acts
2 to be reminded of the full story. Certainly, the
“noise like a violent rushing wind” filling the house, the
“tongues as of fire” that rested on the apostles heads and the
miraculous ability “to speak with other tongues” was powerful.
As powerful as these things were, they were not the most powerful
things on that day. Examine with me four aspects of that amazing
day and learn the true power of Pentecost.
The Power of Fulfilled Prophecy
When mockers accused the apostles of drunkenness, Peter
took his stand and said that this amazing feat of speaking in
tongues was not the result of drinking but the result of fulfilled
2:15-16). He then quoted Joel
2:28-32. God had promised this kind of occurrence and just
as He had always delivered on His promises, He had delivered
Peter goes on to demonstrate that Joel
2 was not the only fulfilled prophesy. Psalm
16:8-11 was the story of Jesus’ death, burial and
resurrection written by David nearly 1000 years earlier. The
prophecy had not been fulfilled in David because they could go to
David’s tomb at that very moment. Instead, it had been fulfilled
in Jesus the Christ who also fulfilled Psalm
We could spend several sermons looking at Jesus’ nature,
life and death to learn how exactly His life had been prophesied
and foreshadowed through the Old Law. From His lineage in the
tribe of Judah to His birth in Bethlehem, from his toddler trip
into Egypt to His upbringing in Nazareth, from His amazing
miracles to His death by crucifixion and finally, His
resurrection. All of these were prophesied and fulfilled.
Fulfilled Prophecy is a powerful teacher. According to Deuteronomy
18:21-22, fulfillment of prophecy was used as a great
indicator that God was working. Peter explained that what the
people were witnessing was fulfilled prophecy. What had happened
just 52 days earlier was fulfilled prophecy and just 50 days
earlier the greatest prophecy was fulfilled—Jesus was
resurrected. What a powerful message.
The Power of a Risen Savior
According to Acts
2:22, Jesus had been attested to by God through many
miracles and wonders and signs. So confident was Peter about
Jesus’ miracles that he told the multitudes they already knew
about them. The most amazing however was reserved for after his
death. Jesus was resurrected from the dead. While there may have
been some in that Pentecost crowd who had not been in Jerusalem
during the Passover, Peter demonstrates that the crowd not only
knew about Jesus’ amazing life, they also knew about His death.
They had in fact been a party to it (vs.
23). However, God raised Jesus, putting an end to the
agony of death (vs.
32, Peter says the apostles had witnessed the risen
Savior. Paul, in I
Corinthians 15:4-8, listed several of the appearances of
Jesus. Peter repeats his claim as an eyewitness in II
Peter 1:16. John demonstrated himself as an eyewitness in
21:24 and I John 1:1-3.
This teaching was not occurring centuries or decades or
even years after Jesus died. It happened 7 weeks later. In vs.
29, Peter pointed out that he could take everyone to
David’s tomb and find the dust and bones of David’s remains.
What a perfect opportunity to prove Peter wrong and go to the tomb
of Joseph of Arimathea and pull out Jesus’ remains. But they
could not. Why? Because Jesus was resurrected. The tomb was empty.
As Paul stated in Romans
1:4, His resurrection declared Jesus to be the Son of God.
Do not miss how powerful this is. Certainly, many myths and
legends contain stories of dying and resurrected gods. However,
how many of them contain the story of a dying Savior, who died as
a sacrifice for our sins. Among the world religions, many have
gods, many have prophets, many have stories of amazing feats to
inspire devotion, but only Christianity has a Savior. Only
Christianity has a Savior who died to be the propitiation for our
John 2:2). Only Christianity has a risen Savior whose
resurrection demonstrates that we also can overcome death (I
Corinthians 15:23). What a powerful message.
The Power of a Heavenly King
Amazingly, the Jews had been looking for a Messiah. They
had been looking for a king who would ride in on a powerful steed
bringing his army to wipe out the Romans. Instead, God sent a
suffering Savior. However, the story did not end there. In Acts
2:34-36, Peter demonstrated another fulfilled prophecy. Psalm
110:1-2 had prophesied a king sitting at the right hand of
God. Jesus fulfilled that too. When He ascended in Acts
1:9, Jesus went to the right hand of God to sit on His
throne as our heavenly King.
Great leaders come and go. Kings live and die. Some bring
great power and honor to their kingdoms. Nebuchadnezzar, Alexander
the Great, Augustus Caesar and others have been powerful men. But
these earthly kings all died and their great works have been
ground into dust by the force of time. We, on the other hand, have
a heavenly king whose kingdom is in this world but not of this
The power of this heavenly king and heavenly kingdom is
demonstrated in the prophecy that came through Nebuchadnezzar’s
dream in Daniel
2:44-45. Considering the forces that have arisen against
Christianity, especially in its early days, it is astounding that
it still exists. The early Christians were scattered and hunted.
As the years went on they were repeatedly persecuted by the Jews
and the Romans. According to historical tradition every one of its
early leaders, with exception of John, was martyred. Beyond the
external persecution, there has been the constant influx of false
teaching that has plagued the world for 2000 years. Yet, here we
are worshipping and serving God simply according to His Word.
Christ is our heavenly king and His heavenly kingdom still stands.
More powerful than the signs that signified Jesus’ kingdom had
come was the fact that Jesus’ kingdom had come. People could be
transferred from Satan’s kingdom of darkness into Christ’s
kingdom of light (Colossians
The Power of Forgiveness
The most powerful aspect of Pentecost, however, was
demonstrated in Acts
2:37-41. Peter did not simply condemn his Jewish brethren
as Christ killers. He preached to them the message of forgiveness
by the blood of the very Jesus they crucified.
To fully comprehend the power of these verses, we need to
remember exactly why all these Jews from all over the world were
in Jerusalem. In Exodus
23:14-17, God prescribed three national feasts in which
all the men of Israel were to travel to Jerusalem and present
themselves before God. According to Deuteronomy
16:9-12, this feast was a memorial that they had been
slaves in Egypt and had been delivered by God from that bondage.
According to Numbers
Pentecost (Feast of Weeks, Feast of Harvest), they had to offer
two bulls, one ram, seven male lambs as a burnt offering and one
goat to make atonement. Just a month and a half earlier they had
gathered for the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened bread. The
Passover included a sacrifice of course. Further, according to Numbers
28:19-24, they had sacrificed two bulls, one ram, seven
male lambs as burnt offerings and one male goat as a sin offering
for seven days in a row. This is in addition to the two male lambs
of burnt offering that the priests offered every day (Numbers
28:3), the two extra male lambs that the priests offered
on every Sabbath (Numbers
28:9) which had just occurred the day before Pentecost and
the new moon sacrifice of two bulls, one ram and seven male lambs
that had occurred about a week before Pentecost.
The world of the Jews dripped in blood offered to get rid
of their sins. Peter explained to them that Jesus Christ had
offered the one sacrifice that would truly do that. They had
gathered to once again memorialize their deliverance from Egypt
and learned about the deliverance they could have from sin. They
gathered once again to remind them that they were extremely sinful
and needed blood shed to forgive them and learned that blood had
been shed that really did forgive them. Consider Hebrews
10:4,10-18. Can you imagine what these Jews who realized
they had crucified the Messiah must have thought and felt when
they realized that their sin really could be forgiven by the blood
of Jesus Christ? That is the power of Pentecost.
The Power to Change
How do we know all of that was powerful? Because we see
what it accomplished. In Acts
2:41-47, we see that nearly 3000 of those listening
repented and were baptized on the very day. But it did not stop
there. They devoted themselves to the further teaching of the
apostles. They devoted themselves to worship with their new
brethren. They devoted themselves to caring for their new
How many of these new Christians were not from Jerusalem?
We don’t know. But apparently many of the pilgrimaging Jews who
became Christians stayed in Jerusalem instead of returning home.
Talk about a life change. Further, this message of a changed life
continued as the lives of these new Christians impacted others and
more were added to Christ’s church daily.
The real Power of Pentecost is the power to change lives.
The power to change us from people who followed the course of this
world to people who follow the doctrine of Jesus Christ. The power
to change us from people who follow selfishness and fleshly lusts
to people who follow the way of the Spirit. The power to get us to
put off the old man and put on the new. That is power—the true
Power of Pentecost.
This power still works today. While the miraculous power of
the gifts of the Holy Spirit are no longer used, the true Power of
Pentecost still holds. The prophets have still been fulfilled. Our
Savior has still risen. Our King is still on His throne in heaven.
Our sins can still be forgiven. Will you allow the power of that
message to save you and change your life? It can. But you have to
let it. If you haven’t already, let the true Power of Pentecost
enter your heart, change your life and save your soul. Do exactly
what the people on Pentecost did, repent and let everyone of you
be baptized for the remission of your sins (Acts
2:38). Be saved from our perverse generation.
to God in the church by Christ Jesus
Church of Christ