This Sunday is Pentecost. You may have never heard that word before, or maybe you feel like you’ve heard it 10000 times but actually you’re still not exactly sure what it means. If either of those feel like you, stick around, this is for you!
Below is a little Pentecost Bible study that you can do with us, so get comfy, grab a snack or two (or ten), and let’s dig in.
We’re going to look at the what Pentecost was, what it still is, and why it matters.
Shall we have a quick pray before we get stuck in?
Lord God, thank you that your Word is as relevant today as it was 2000 years ago. Thank you that you are with us, helping us to understand what Pentecost means. Please make something stand out specifically to each of us reading and going through this together today. Amen.
OK. So, why don’t you kick things off by reading Acts 2 in the Bible, we’ll be right here waiting for you when you’re done.
Now let me break the story down for you with a few of my observations…
- Jesus has recently left earth and gone back to heaven, but the disciples are still all together. This is interesting! Before Jesus they all lived separate lives, yet now they are completely united.
- In verse 5 it says that there were people staying in Jerusalem from all nations. This was because it was a Jewish festival, people from all over the world would have to travelled to Jerusalem to take part in the celebrations. God has impeccable timing. He chose this moment to send his Holy Spirit, where people were gathered from all nations, so that they could go back to their homes to continue spreading and growing his message.
- Jesus promised again and again that he would send a ‘helper’ (John 14 v 26; John 15 v 26) and here we see this happening! This is not only a comfort, knowing we have the Holy Spirit with us today, but it makes me more convinced that other promises in the Bible are also true – He gives us strength (Isaiah 40); He will always be with us (Isaiah 43); He has plans for us (Jeremiah 29); He is our peace (Philippians 4); Salvation!! (John 3) and so many more.
- Peter’s speech to the crowds is an incredible example of how to share the gospel with people – He answers their questions, he uses the Bible to back up his points, he explains why Jesus’ death and resurrection are so important, and he finishes by explaining what we have to do next to accept this message – ‘Repent and be baptised and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit’ (verse 38).
Pentecost is ALL about the Holy Spirit.
What I notice is that the power of the Holy Spirit in Jesus’ friends gives them the boldness and the readiness to go out and begin to fulfil God’s commission – to make more and more disciples. On that very day around 3000 people said yes to Jesus – wow – from 12 to 3,012!
This makes me wonder what a small church youth group could do with the power of the Holy Spirit behind us.
But the Holy Spirit doesn’t just give us boldness and the right words to say, He also works in and through us with signs and wonders! Reading on in Acts we see the Holy Spirit at work through the disciples, as they pray for people they see miracles and the message of Jesus spreads further and further. This same Holy Spirit is promised to us today which means, in the name of Jesus, we can see signs and wonders in our schools, churches, communities today.
Something else God has made me think about today in this passage is the message of unity.
It reminds me of a part of the Old Testament, but in reverse. The Tower of Babel was a moment in Genesis where God makes people speak different languages because together, they were turning against God. However, Jesus’ message is all about the restoration of our relationship with God! So, where once we were separated by language, we now see the Holy Spirit uniting people in tongues (verse 11). The difference is, instead of speaking against God, they all are hearing the wonders of him.
So, what does all this mean for today, the here and now?
God wants us to understand that the Holy Spirit isn’t just something nice we can read about, it isn’t just part of a historical book that has no relevance today. The Holy Spirit is at work in and through us if we allow Him to be. He can give us boldness and power to see signs and wonders, to be united and bring restoration and forgiveness to broken situations. He can help us to understand and share the hope of Jesus to those around us.
One thing we can do, to start putting this into practice, is each morning ask the Holy Spirit to come and be with us in that day. Pick an activity in your morning routine to do this – maybe while brushing your teeth? In this time ask Him to give you boldness and courage, to work through you in the day, to open your eyes to conversations or opportunities to talk about God.