Peter's First Sermon on The Day of Pentecost
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA (April 25, 2016) -- Peter's first sermon came at such an exciting moment in church history, with the filling or baptism of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, exactly 50 days after the Jewish Passover, when Jesus was crucified as our Passover Lamb.
On Pentecost, 120 followers of Jesus were in the Upper Room at a prayer gathering when they heard the sound of a mighty rushing wind, then tongues of fire descended over their heads, and they began speaking in tongues that were unknown to them, but miraculously, the known languages of many of the Jewish pilgrims visiting Jerusalem for the feast.
Pentecost was a harvest festival, when the Jewish people presented to God the first fruits of their wheat harvest (Exodus 34:22). And there were thousands of these pilgrims in Jerusalem from all over the Mediterranean region and Asia Minor.
All these pilgrims heard the commotion and came running to see what was going on.
The sending of the Holy Spirit was strategically timed by God to reach the widest possible audience, because many of these pilgrims would be changed and return home to tell about the Messiah, Jesus.
So the Holy Spirit fell on a day devoted to harvest, giving the disciples a power to witness, and 3000 were saved as a result. That began a harvest of souls that has continued for the last 2000 years.
The "download" of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost was a fulfillment of John the Baptist's preaching, when he said he said he baptized with water, but Jesus would baptize with fire and the Holy Spirit.
I like to start my day with a morning devotional, and usually I ask God in my prayer time for the filling of the Holy Spirit.
That daily filling of the Spirit seems to be something different from what happened on the day of Pentecost. This was something unusual. They weren't just filled, they were drenched! And that drenching gave them a boldness they had never known - as witnesses for Jesus.
After the Holy Spirit fell, these pilgrims heard God praised in their own language and they were bewildered and amazed by the spectacle.
But then came the mockers and detractors, who accused the disciples of being drunk. Whenever revival breaks out, there will always be naysayers.
Who would answer these mockers? Who would stand up and explain what was happening? Who could guide them to the truth?
A man named Peter stood up. Could this be the same man who denied he even knew Jesus three times? Could it be the same man who was slow to believe in the resurrection? Could it be the same man who had inserted foot (A) in mouth (B) too many times?
But impetuous Peter, baptized by the Holy Spirit, suddenly had a supernatural boldness and an authority beyond himself.
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