When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. (Acts 2:1-4 ESV)
We come to chapter 2 of our expositions in the Book of Acts and encounter a narrative that we’ve been anticipating – the Miracle of Pentecost! Verses 1-41 tell us of awesome signs and wonders, particularly the miracle of the Apostles’ preaching in tongues of fire, as a result of the promised Holy Spirit descending on Christ’s followers like a mighty, rushing wind. This event is the first revival in Christian history.
Here, the Apostles told of the mighty works of God, and Jews from every nation came to hear what was said – and, surprisingly, they heard the words in their own language! After Peter preaches a bold presentation of the gospel of Jesus Christ, 3,000 souls are saved, baptized, and added to the church. All of this was done in fulfillment of biblical prophecy, as Peter quotes the prophet Joel as saying:
“‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh,
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
and your young men shall see visions,
and your old men shall dream dreams;
even on my male servants and female servants
in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.” (Acts 2:17-18, quoting Joel 2:28-29)
What a remarkable event – And how different than our normal routine! It’s no surprise, then, that for generations, Christians have longed for another Pentecost. We have prayed for more revivals, awakenings, and descents of the Spirit to wake us up from our apathy, or perhaps from the normal, ordinary routines of life.
As we come to this text on Sunday, let us face the question of whether or not we really want revival. God doesn’t typically work through the miraculous; in fact, he normally works through the ordinary means. However, he is pleased to revive his people from time to time, and if the church is the salt and light of the world, then it is only the revival of the church that can provide hope to the world around us.