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Three feast days were of prime importance to the Israelites:  The Feast of Unleavened Bread (Passover), which celebrated their deliverance from Egypt, The Feast of Harvests, the first fruits of their labors sown in the fields, and The Feast of Ingathering when they harvested the fruit of their labors in the fields.

Today, the Christian Church still celebrates this third feast, which we call Pentecost.  Pentecost means fifty (fifty days after Passover), and it commemorates the birth of the Christian Church.

Many centuries ago the prophet, Joel, prophesied of a time in the future when God would pour out His Spirit.

The Scripture: Joel 1:1, 2:17-18, 21

The word of the Lord that came to Joel: "I will pour out my Spirit on all people, and your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.  Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days....And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."

1.  What did the Lord promise to do?   

2.  What would the people do?   

3.  Who will be saved?   

The Scripture:  Acts 1:3-5

“Following His death and resurrection, He (Jesus) appeared to them (His disciples) over a period of forty days.  On one occasion, He gave them this command:  ‘Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift the Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.  For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’”

4.  What did Jesus command?       

5.  What had He promised?   

The Scripture:  Acts 1:8

Jesus continued: "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth."

6.  What would they receive? 

7.  When? 

8.  What would they be?   

Jesus’ prophesy was fulfilled on Pentecost when Jews from many nations were staying in Jerusalem.  The disciples were all together.

9.  What happened?     

The Scripture:  Acts 2:3-4

“They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.  All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues (languages) as the Spirit enabled them.”

10.  What happened to the believers?   

Today the Church calls this experience the baptism in the Holy Spirit and it is available to all Christians. * 

The Scripture:  Acts 2:6-7, 12

“When they heard the sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment because each one heard them  (the disciples) speaking in his own language.....Amazed and perplexed, they asked  one another, ‘What does this mean?’”

11.  What was their question? 

The Scripture:  Acts 2:14, 16

“Then Peter stood up with the Eleven...and addressed the crowd....’This is what was spoken of by the prophet Joel.’”

12.  What did Peter say?   

*For more material on the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, download the Bible Study, “The Baptism in the Holy Spirit.”

 Peter continued by describing Jesus’ life, death and resurrection.

The Scripture:  Acts 2:32-33

“God has raised this Jesus to life....Exalted to the right hand of God, He has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and poured out what you now see and hear.”

13.  From whom did Jesus receive the Holy Spirit? 

This was the same Peter, who not too many days before was hiding with the other disciples behind locked doors.  Today he was boldly preaching to thousands of people.

The Scripture:  Acts 2:36, 37

Peter continued: “God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”  When people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brother what shall we do?”

14.  What did the crowd member ask the apostles?   

Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

15.  What was Peter’s response?   

16.  What would they receive?   

The Scripture:  Acts 2:39

“The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off-for all whom the Lord our God will call.”

17.  Who is the promise for?     

The Scripture:  Acts 2:41

“Those who accepted his message and were baptized and about three thousand were added to their number that day.”

18.  How many were baptized that day? 

These first believers devoted themselves to the disciples’ teaching and to the fellowship and prayer.  They held everything in common.  The Lord added to their numbers daily.  This was the first Pentecost - the birth of the Christian church.

Many who heard the disciples’ teaching believed and their number grew to about 5,000.

Personal Question

Have you received the baptism in the Holy Spirit?  Describe your experience.

The disciples continued to teach and performed many miracles brought before the Sanhedrin for their teaching, Peter proclaimed:

The Scripture:  Acts 4:12

“Salvation is from no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”

19.  What was Peter’s proclamation?

This is an important scripture to memorize.  Be ready to repeat it to anyone who asks about your faith.

Even though the disciples were imprisoned and flogged, they praised God that they were considered worthy to suffer “disgrace for Jesus” name.

After Stephen, a man filled with the Holy Spirit and faith was martyred, the number of converts continued to grow.  The Church in Jerusalem was persecuted and most of the Christians there were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria.

Obviously, one of the Holy Spirit’s empowerments is the ability to witness - to share Jesus with everyone we encounter.

Personal Question

20. Are you sharing Jesus with your friends and neighbors?

You can do this in your own neighborhood.  One translation of Jesus’ command in Matthew 28:19 is, “Therefore, as you go, make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

The Answers

  1. To pour out His Spirit on all peoples  
  2. Prophecy, dream, have visions  
  3. All who call on the name of the Lord  
  4. That the disciples not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift the Father had promised  
  5. That in a few days they would be baptized with the Holy Spirit  
  6. Power 
  7. When the Holy Spirit came upon them  
  8. His witnesses in Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth  
  9. A sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house.   
  10. They were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues.  
  11. “What does this mean?”  
  12. “This is what was spoken of by the prophet Joel.” 
  13. From the Father  
  14. “Brothers, what shall we do?”
  15. To repent and be baptized in Jesus’ name for the forgiveness of their sins.  
  16. The gift of the Holy Spirit  
  17. For them and their children and those who are far off--for all whom the Lord will call  
  18. About three thousand  
  19. “There is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”
  20. Personal answer

All scripture quotations in this publication are from the Holy Bible, New International Version
(unless otherwise indicated)
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, New International Bible Society
Copyright © 2009 by JoAnne Sekowsky