“Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?””
Increasingly I have been coming to the conclusion that we must pay careful attention to the questions which are asked in the Scriptures. A number of years ago as I was carefully studying the Gospel according to Mark, and the book of Acts, in preparation for a Pentecost Sunday message, the questions that the pages of Scripture asked seemed to leap off the page. They demanded an answer. It is not just any answer that they were looking for. It is a Biblical answer that these questions were seeking. That this is the case is shown by the sermon which the Apostle Peter preaches on the day of Pentecost. It is filled with the Word of God. Peter points to many Biblical references in order to answer the questions of the perplexed crowd. They asked, “What does this mean?” In asking this question they confront us with what we must ask ourselves. What do the events on the day of Pentecost mean today? What do these events mean for us personally as we look ahead to Pentecost on the 23rd of May?
As Peter begins to answer this question he takes us to some Old Testament Scripture. His desire is to lead us to understand what God is doing in our world so that we can, in faith, keep in step with Him. So Peter takes us to these Words from God.
- Joel 2:28-32 – which speaks to us about how in the last days the Spirit of God will be poured out upon all people. His purpose will be to bring the whole world to conviction of sin so that anyone who flees to the Lord will be saved. With the events of the Incarnation, life, death, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ peter tells us that we have entered into the last days. Now is the time to call upon the Lord for grace.
- Psalm 16:8-11 – which speaks about the necessity of the resurrection. God will not leave His Messiah in the grave to see corruption. This does not refer to David the King who still lies buried, but it refers to his descendant Jesus of Nazareth who was raised from the grave.
- Psalm 110:1 – which speaks about the ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ to the place of honour at His Father’s right hand in heaven. Peter takes us right through the account of the life death, resurrection, ascension, and current ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ at His Father’s right hand where He intercedes for us.
- Peter takes the message further. In response to the questioning of the crowd Peter begins to speak about repentance and baptism. He speaks about the Promise of God which is to be poured out upon us. Jeremiah 31:31-34 tells us about the New Covenant which is written in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. Peter does not mention this Scripture, although he might have had he wished. Neither does he mention John 14:15ff in which Jesus promises that after His ascension He will send another comforter, the Holy Spirit, the Promise of the Father who will lead us into all truth. He will also empower us to carry out the missionary call that God has place upon our lives. John Miller tells us in Outgrowing the Ingrown Church that at the heart of the Lord’s promise to answer our prayers is the Promise of the Risen Lord to supply the Holy Spirit in answer to prayer as the power source for our missionary endeavours. This is the meaning of the events of the Day of Pentecost.