Acts 2: Pentecostal Outpouring

On a previous day when a replacement for Judas was made, 120 people were gathered. Five hundred saw Jesus at one time. The Bible doesn’t say how many were gathered in the Temple on the day of Pentecost. How many followers of Jesus do you think were there? Why?

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Acts 2:1 At midmorning on the day of Pentecost, the followers of Jesus were gathered in the Temple with a single passion for prayer.
1 Corinthians 15:6 During the days that followed, more than five hundred people saw him at one time. Most of them are still living and can verify that Jesus died and was raised from the dead, but some have died.
King James
Acts 2:1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
1 Corinthians 15:6 After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.

For many, prayer is asking God to give them what they want. Jesus says we don’t have to worry about God meeting our needs and the apostle Paul says God will be extravagant in providing for us. If the people in prayer were not asking God for stuff, what might they have been saying?

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Matthew 6:28 Why worry about clothes? Look how the wildflowers grow in the fields. They do not spin yarn or weave fabric.
6:29 Yet Solomon in his greatest splendor was never dressed like one of them.
6:30 If God clothes the wildflowers that are here now and gone tomorrow, don’t you suppose he will care for you? Why do you have such weak faith?
Acts 2:1 At midmorning on the day of Pentecost, the followers of Jesus were gathered in the Temple with a single passion for prayer.
King James
Matthew 6:28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
6:29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
6:30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
Acts 2:1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.

The outpouring of the Holy Spirit was visible (tongues of fire) and audible (sound of violent wind). For uninvolved visitors present, what do you think the reaction might be to what they first saw and heard?

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Acts 2:2 Suddenly, a sound came from above, like a violent wind, filling the area where they were sitting.
2:3 Fiery tongues appeared and settled upon each of them,
King James
Acts 2:2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
2:3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.

The Holy Spirit miraculously produced words in languages that the followers of Jesus didn’t know. Since this had never happened before, they could not have anticipated this happening. What do you think might have been going through their minds at this time?

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Acts 2:4 The entire group was filled with the Holy Spirit. They began to speak in unknown languages as the Spirit gave them the words.
King James
Acts 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Jewish pilgrims from many foreign nations were amazed to hear local people speaking a language other than Aramaic. Why was this amazing?

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Acts 2:5 At the same time, devout Jews were staying in Jerusalem, people from every nation of the world.
2:6 When the multitude heard the voices, they gathered around the many speakers, mystified because what they were hearing was in their native languages.
2:7 They couldn’t believe their ears, saying to one another, “Aren’t these people Galilean?
2:8 How are they speaking the language from where we were born?
2:9 Parthians, Medes, and Elamites. People who live in Mesopotamia, Cappadocia, as well as Judea. From Pontus and Asia.
2:10 Phrygians, Pamphylians, and Egyptians. Residents of Cyrene in Libya and pilgrims from Rome, both natural Jews and converts,
2:11 Cretans and Arabians. We are all hearing of God’s wonderful, mighty works in our languages.”
King James
Acts 2:5 And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.
2:6 Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.
2:7 And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans?
2:8 And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?
2:9 Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia,
2:10 Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes,
2:11 Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.

At least a dozen areas with different languages are identified. There may have been many more. To what extent might the speakers have moved toward different nationalities so one language would be distinguished above the others?

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Acts 2:5 At the same time, devout Jews were staying in Jerusalem, people from every nation of the world.
2:6 When the multitude heard the voices, they gathered around the many speakers, mystified because what they were hearing was in their native languages.
2:7 They couldn’t believe their ears, saying to one another, “Aren’t these people Galilean?
2:8 How are they speaking the language from where we were born?
2:9 Parthians, Medes, and Elamites. People who live in Mesopotamia, Cappadocia, as well as Judea. From Pontus and Asia.
2:10 Phrygians, Pamphylians, and Egyptians. Residents of Cyrene in Libya and pilgrims from Rome, both natural Jews and converts,
2:11 Cretans and Arabians. We are all hearing of God’s wonderful, mighty works in our languages.”
King James
Acts 2:5 And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.
2:6 Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.
2:7 And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans?
2:8 And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?
2:9 Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia,
2:10 Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes,
2:11 Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.

When the seemingly impossible happens, we are mystified and want to know how this is possible. Drinking vodka doesn’t help people speak Russian? Why do you think drinking wine was offered as a plausible explanation for speaking a foreign language?

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Acts 2:12 Amazed and seeking an explanation, they said to one another, “What in the world does this mean?”
2:13 But others made fun of the situation, saying, “These people have drunk too much wine.”
King James
Acts 2:12 And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this?
2:13 Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine.

Peter said it was too early in the day for anyone to be drinking. Does presenting the truth become easier after ruling out incorrect assumptions? Why?

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Acts 2:14 Peter stood among the messengers and shouted, “You men of Jerusalem and Jews from afar, give ear to my words because I have an answer.
2:15 This early in the day, you should know these people haven’t been drinking. It’s only nine o’clock.
King James
Acts 2:14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:(Acts 2:14 KJV)
2:15 For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day.

How do you think Peter was able to connect this event with the fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy?

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Joel 2:28 In that day I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh. Your children will prophesy, your elders will have revelations in dreams, and your youth will see visions.
2:29 Even upon slaves and servants, I will pour out my Spirit in that day.
2:30 I will do wonders in the sky above and the earth below. Blood, fire, and columns of smoke
2:31 will darken the sun and redden the moon in that great and fearful day of the Lord.
2:32 Those who call upon the name of the Lord will be saved, for the Lord promises a great escape on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem for the survivors who heed his call.
Acts 2:16 What you’ve seen here is the fulfillment of what the prophet Joel said would come.
King James
Joel 2:28 And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:
2:29 And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.
2:30 And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.
2:31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.
2:32 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.
Acts 2:16 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel.

The outpouring of the Holy Spirit marks the end of the “former days” and the beginning of the “last days.” The “last day” hasn’t come after more than two thousand years, suggesting a high probability that we won’t see it in our lifetime. Why might it be dangerous to think that way?

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Matthew 24:37 The coming of the Son of Man will be like the days of Noah.
24:38 Before the flood, people were eating, drinking, and having a good time until the day Noah entered the ark.
24:39 They did not believe until the flood swept them away. It will be the same when the Son of Man comes.
24:42 Always be watching, because you do not know when your Lord will come.
Acts 2:17 Speaking of what would come to pass in the last days, God said, I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh. Your children will prophesy, your elders will have revelations in dreams, and your youth will see visions.
King James
Matthew 24:37 But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
24:38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,
24:39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
24:42 Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.
Acts 2:17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.

The Old Testament records many individuals giving prophecy, having revelations, and describing visions. The prophet Joel had predicted the last days a spiritual outpouring upon “all flesh.” How was this different from what had been happening before?

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Acts 2:17 Speaking of what would come to pass in the last days, God said, I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh. Your children will prophesy, your elders will have revelations in dreams, and your youth will see visions.
King James
Acts 2:17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.

Before the “last day,” we’ll see numerous wars and rumors of wars, earthquakes and storms, eclipses and blood moons. What do you think it means to “call upon the name of the Lord” to be saved?

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Matthew 24:6 Do not panic when you hear about wars or battle threats. Such things must happen, but that does not mean the end has come.
Acts 2:20 Blood, fire, and columns of smoke will darken the sun and redden the moon in that great and fearful day of the Lord.
King James
Matthew 24:6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
Acts 2:20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come.

Many among the crowd had come from other nations, yet Peter said they knew about Jesus. How do you suppose they knew?

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Acts 2:9 Parthians, Medes, and Elamites. People who live in Mesopotamia, Cappadocia, as well as Judea. From Pontus and Asia.
2:22 Listen to me, Israelites. You know about Jesus of Nazareth, who proved his divine authority by many powerful miracles and signs.
King James
Acts 2:9 Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia.
2:22 Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know.

To support the reality of Jesus’ resurrection, Peter quoted from one of David’s songs. Why was that important for this audience?

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Psalm 16:8 The presence of the Lord is always on my mind. With him leading the way, I will not slip up,
16:9 so I rejoice with my whole being, my hope resting in him.
16:10 You will not abandon me in death nor will you allow your Holy One’s body to decay.
16:11 Lord, you will show me how to live. In your presence, I experience overflowing joy. Walking with you, I enjoy pleasures that last forever.
Act 2:25 David spoke concerning him: The presence of the Lord is always on my mind. With him leading the way, I will not slip up,
2:26 so I rejoice with my whole being, my hope resting in him.
2:27 You will not abandon me in death nor will you allow your Holy One’s body to decay.
2:28 Lord, you will show me how to live. In your presence, I experience overflowing joy. Walking with you, I enjoy pleasures that last forever.
King James
Psalm 16:8 I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.
16:9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope.
16:10 For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.
16:11 Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.
Act 2:25 For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved:
2:26 Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope:
2:27 Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.
2:28 Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance.

What is the value of having many eyewitnesses?

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Acts 2:32 We are all eyewitnesses of what David said would come, for we have seen God raise Jesus from the dead.
King James
Acts 2:32 This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.

How did Peter know that Jesus had sent the Holy Spirit?

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John 16:7 Even so, I tell you the truth. I must go, or the Guide will not come. But if I go, I will send him to you.
Acts 2:33 Lifted to the place of supreme authority with the Father, Jesus has sent the promised Holy Spirit, which is what you have been seeing and hearing.
King James
John 16:7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.
Acts 2:33 Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.

In our culture, some people have little respect for our leaders. In what ways did this differ from people in the first century who served their lords and kings?

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Acts 2:33 Lifted to the place of supreme authority with the Father, Jesus has sent the promised Holy Spirit, which is what you have been seeing and hearing.
2:34 David wasn’t talking about himself when he said, ‘God told my Master, “Sit here at my right hand
2:35 until I’ve put your enemies under your control.”
King James
Acts 2:33 Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.
2:34 or David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand,
2:35 Until I make thy foes thy footstool.

What percentage of the audience do you think had any direct involvement in the crucifixion of Jesus?

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Acts 2:36 Everyone in Israel needs to know beyond the slightest doubt that God has made this Jesus, the one you crucified, both Master and Messiah.
King James
Acts 2:36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.

The people were in Jerusalem and had come to the Temple for worship and prayer, seeing themselves as obedient followers of God. After seeing the manifestation of the Holy Spirit and hearing Peter, what was their motivation in asking Peter what they should do?

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Acts 2:37 After hearing these words, the people were deeply troubled. To Peter and the rest of the messengers, they said, “Friends, what shall we do?”
King James
Acts 2:37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?

What did Peter say would come after people repented and were baptized?

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Acts 2:38 “Repent,” Peter said, “and be baptized. By the authority of Jesus Christ, your sins will be forgiven and you will receive this gift of the Holy Spirit.”
King James
Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

For whose benefit had God’s promises been made?

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Acts 2:39 God’s promise was for you and your children, even for those in the most distant places on Earth, to everyone who will hear his invitation.
King James
Acts 2:39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.

Peter admonished the Jews to forsake their corrupt culture. In what ways might they have regarded their culture as corrupt?

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Acts 2:40 With many more words, Peter admonished and encouraged the people, saying, “Save yourselves from this corrupt culture.”
King James
Acts 2:40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.

The only bodies of water in the area were the public Bethesda and Siloam pools. What do you think the social impact was, when the community saw three thousand people being baptized there?

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Acts 2:41 Those who believed the message were baptized—adding some three thousand people to the group of Jesus’ disciples.
King James
Acts 2:41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.

Peter said those who were baptized would receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. How might that experience have resembled or been different from what took place in the Temple?

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Acts 2:38 “Repent,” Peter said, “and be baptized. By the authority of Jesus Christ, your sins will be forgiven and you will receive this gift of the Holy Spirit.”
2:41 Those who believed the message were baptized—adding some three thousand people to the group of Jesus’ disciples.
King James
Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
2:41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.

What did the new followers of Jesus do after they were baptized?

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Acts 2:42 And they continued to learn from the apostles, sharing meals together and meeting in the Temple for prayer.
King James
Acts 2:42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

The Greek apostolos can refer to anyone sent with a message. Jesus said that miraculous signs would follow those who believed and were baptized. Do you think the miracles were worked only through the twelve, or other messengers as well? Why?

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Mark 16:16 Those who believe and are baptized will be saved, but those who do not believe will be condemned.
16:17 These miraculous signs will follow those who believe: Under my direction and authority, they will cast out evil spirits, and they will speak in new languages.
16:18 If they pick up serpents or drink something poisonous, they will not be harmed. They will place their hands on the sick, and they will recover.
Acts 2:43 Great respect for God came upon them, and many miracles and other proofs of God’s power were worked through the apostles.
King James
Mark 16:16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
16:17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;
16:18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
Acts 2:43 And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.

What changes were seen in the behavior of these new followers of Jesus?

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Acts 2:44 The believers entrusted themselves to one another, sharing ownership of all they had.
2:45 They often sold their lands and other valuable possessions, giving all the proceeds for distribution according to each person’s need.
2:46 Every day, they were meeting for prayer in the Temple, sharing meals in their houses, unified in their desire to help others,
2:47 giving God the glory. The people received their expressions of love, and the gatherings of believers kept growing.
King James
Acts 2:44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common;
2:45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.
2:46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,
2:47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

Selling assets and giving it all to help others became a common, if not expected, practice among the believers. How great do you think their sacrifices were, and for what reward did they give it?

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Matthew 6:1 Be careful not to do your good deeds publicly so others will admire you. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
6:2 When you give to the needy, do not call attention to yourself, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and streets. They want people to praise them. Without a doubt, they have received all the reward they will ever get.
6:3 Instead, when you help someone, do it quietly, without fanfare.
6:4 Then your Father will see what you have done in secret and will reward you.
6:5 Do not be like the hypocrites, who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so people will see them. I assure you, they already have their reward.
Acts 2:46 Every day, they were meeting for prayer in the Temple, sharing meals in their houses, unified in their desire to help others,
2:47 giving God the glory. The people received their expressions of love, and the gatherings of believers kept growing.
King James
Matthew 6:1 Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.
6:2 Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
6:3 But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:
6:4 That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.
6:5 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
Acts 2:46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,
2:47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.