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The Holy Spirit Comes at Pentecost

On the day Pentecost was being fulfilled,[a] all the disciples were gathered in one place. Suddenly they heard the sound of a violent blast of wind[b] rushing into the house[c] from out of the heavenly realm. The roar of the wind was so overpowering it was all anyone could bear! Then all at once a pillar of fire appeared before their eyes.[d] It separated into tongues of fire that engulfed[e] each one of them. They were all filled and equipped[f] with the Holy Spirit and were inspired[g] to speak in tongues—empowered by the Spirit to speak in languages they had never learned!

Now, at that time there were Jewish worshipers[h] who had emigrated from many different lands to live in Jerusalem. When the people[i] of the city heard the roaring sound, crowds came running to where it was coming from, stunned over what was happening, because each one could hear the disciples speaking in his or her own language. Bewildered, they said to one another, “Aren’t these all Galileans?[j] So how is it that we hear them speaking in our own languages? We are northeastern Iranians,[k] northwestern Iranians,[l] Elamites,[m] and those from Mesopotamia,[n] Judea, east central Turkey,[o] the coastal areas of the Black Sea,[p] Asia,[q] 10 north central Turkey,[r] southern Turkey, Egypt, Libyans who are neighbors of Cyrene, visitors from all over the Roman Empire, both Jews and converts to Judaism, Cretans and Arabs. 11 Yet we hear them speaking of God’s mighty wonders in our own dialects!”[s] 12 They all stood there, dumbfounded and astonished, saying to one another, “What is this phenomenon?”[t]

13 But others poked fun at them and said, “They’re just drunk on new wine.”

Peter’s Pentecost Sermon

14 Peter stood up with the eleven apostles[u] and shouted[v] to the crowd. “Listen carefully, my fellow Jews[w] and residents of Jerusalem. You need to clearly understand what’s happening here. 15 These people are not drunk like you think they are, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning.[x] 16 This is the fulfillment of what was prophesied through the prophet Joel, for God says:[y]

17 ‘This is what I will do in the last days[z]—I will pour out[aa] my Spirit on everybody and cause your sons and daughters to prophesy, and your young men will see visions,[ab] and your old men will experience dreams from God.[ac] 18 The Holy Spirit will come upon all my servants, men and women alike, and they will prophesy. 19 I will reveal startling signs and wonders in the sky above and mighty miracles on the earth below. Blood and fire and pillars of clouds[ad] will appear. 20 For the sun will be turned dark[ae] and the moon blood-red before that great and awesome appearance of the day of the Lord. 21 But everyone who calls on the name of the Lord[af] will be saved.’ ”

22 Peter continued, “People of Israel, listen to the facts.[ag] Jesus, the Victorious,[ah] was a man on a divine mission[ai] whose authority was clearly proven. For you know how God performed many powerful miracles, signs, and wonders through him. 23 This Man’s destiny was prearranged, for God knew that Jesus would be handed over to you to be crucified and that you would execute him on a cross by the hands of lawless men. Yet it was all part of his predetermined plan. 24 God destroyed the cords of death[aj] and raised him up, because it was impossible for death’s power to hold him prisoner. 25 This is the very thing David prophesied about him:[ak]

‘I continually see the Lord[al] in front of me.
    He’s at my right hand, and I am never shaken.[am]
26 No wonder my heart is glad and my glory celebrates![an]
    My mouth is filled with his praises,
    and I have hope that my body will live[ao]
27 because you will not leave my soul among the dead,[ap]
    nor will you allow your sacred one to experience decay.
28 For you have revealed to me the pathways to life,
    and seeing your face fills me with euphoria!’[aq]

29 “My fellow Jews, I can tell you there is no doubt that our noted patriarch has both died and been buried in his tomb, which remains to this day. So you can see that he was not referring to himself with those words. 30 But as a prophet, he knew God’s faithful promise, made with God’s unbreakable oath, that one of his descendants would take his throne.[ar] 31 So when peering into the future, David prophesied[as] of the Messiah’s resurrection. And God revealed to him that the Messiah would not be abandoned to the realm of death, nor would his body experience decay.

32 “Can’t you see it? God has resurrected Jesus, and we all have seen him![at]

33 “Then God exalted him to his right hand upon the throne of highest honor. And the Father gave him the authority to send the promised Holy Spirit, which is being poured out[au] upon us today. This is what you’re seeing and hearing!

34 “David wasn’t the one who ascended into heaven, but the one who prophesied:

‘Yahweh[av] said to my Lord,
    I honor you by enthroning you beside me,[aw]
35 until I make your enemies
    a footstool beneath your feet.’[ax]

36 “Now everyone in Israel[ay] can know for certain[az] that Jesus, whom you crucified, is the one God has made[ba] both Lord[bb] and the Messiah.”

The Crowd Responds to Peter’s Words

37 When they heard this they were crushed and realized what they had done to Jesus.[bc] Deeply moved, they said to Peter and the other apostles, “What do we need to do, brothers?”[bd]

38 Peter replied, “Repent and return to God,[be] and each one of you must be baptized in the name of Jesus, the Anointed One,[bf] to have your sins removed. Then you may take hold of the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For God’s promise of the Holy Spirit is for you[bg] and your families, for those yet to be born[bh] and for everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.”

40 Peter preached to them and warned them with these words: “Be rescued from the wayward and perverse culture of this world!”[bi]

41 Those who believed the word that day numbered three thousand. They were all baptized and added to the church.[bj]

The Community of Believers

42 Every believer was faithfully devoted to following the teachings[bk] of the apostles. Their hearts were mutually linked to one another,[bl] sharing communion[bm] and coming together regularly for prayer.[bn] 43 A deep sense of holy awe[bo] swept over everyone, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders.[bp] 44 All the believers were in fellowship as one body,[bq] and they shared with one another whatever they had. 45 Out of generosity they even sold their assets to distribute the proceeds to those who were in need among them. 46 Daily they met together in the temple courts and in one another’s homes to celebrate communion. They shared meals together with joyful hearts and tender humility. 47 They were continually filled with praises to God, enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord kept adding to their number daily those who were coming to life.[br]


  1. 2:1 Or “came to be fulfilled.” The Greek word means “to fill completely (to be fulfilled).” Pentecost was one of the main feasts of Israel. The name is derived from pentekostos, which means “fiftieth,” since it was held on the fiftieth day after the Passover Sabbath. It was also known as the Feast of Harvest.
  2. 2:2 The Aramaic can also be translated “like the roar of a groaning spirit.” This mighty wind is for power; the breath of Jesus breathed into his disciples in John 20:22 was for life.
  3. 2:2 Or “It filled the house.” Tradition says they were gathered in an upper room; however, it is more likely that it was the House of the Lord (the temple), where they all gathered to celebrate Pentecost. See also Luke 24:53.
  4. 2:3 This was the pillar of fire that led Israel from bondage into the promised land. The same pillar of fire manifested here to initiate a new beginning from dead religious structures into the powerful life of the Spirit. Each believer received an overpowering flame of fire, signified by the shaft of light that engulfed them. It was as though each one received his own personal pillar of fire that would empower him and lead him throughout his life. This was the promise Jesus gave to his disciples of “the one like me” (John 14:26), who would be sent by the Father and never leave them. Today every believer is indwelt by the Spirit of Christ (Rom. 8:9). This was the birthday of the church of Jesus Christ.
  5. 2:3 Or “rested over them.”
  6. 2:4 There are two Greek words used here for “filled.” In v. 2, it is pleroo, which means “filled inwardly.” In v. 4 it is pletho, which means “filled outwardly” or “furnished and equipped.” This was the anointing of the Spirit for ministry. Every believer needs the filling of the Spirit both inwardly for life and outwardly for ministry.
  7. 2:4 The Greek word apotheggomai literally means “to ring out” (like a bell). It can also mean “carried along” or “inspired.”
  8. 2:5 Or “devout Jewish men.”
  9. 2:6 The Greek word andres implies respect, such as “ladies and gentlemen.”
  10. 2:7 It is likely they knew they were Galileans by their Aramaic dialect common in Galilee.
  11. 2:9 Or “Parthians.”
  12. 2:9 Or “Medes.”
  13. 2:9 This area is now Khuzestan and the Ilam Province, including a small part of southern Iraq.
  14. 2:9 The Aramaic is Beth-Nahrin, which means “land of the rivers.” This would include Iraq, parts of Syria, southeastern Turkey, and southwestern Iran. The Assyrians also consider themselves to be natives of Beth-Nahrin (Mesopotamia).
  15. 2:9 Or “Cappadocia.”
  16. 2:9 Or “Pontus,” which is northeastern Turkey. Pontus means “sea.”
  17. 2:9 Or “Orientals.”
  18. 2:10 Or “Phrygia.”
  19. 2:11 This is the universal remedy of the curse of Babel, where human beings were divided by languages (Gen. 11:9). Now, in Christ, the language of the Spirit unifies us all in him.
  20. 2:12 As translated from the Aramaic.
  21. 2:14 All of the twelve standing there would prove that they were not drunk. They stood before this massive crowd, possibly in the courts of the temple. There were three thousand converted and baptized that day, so the crowd was possibly much larger than that.
  22. 2:14 See footnote for v. 4. Peter was speaking under the anointing of the Holy Spirit. The tongues being spoken, along with the sound of the wind, drew the crowd. Peter would have spoken to them in the common language of Aramaic. Even with the Galilean and Judean dialects, nearly all of the Jewish people present would understand his words.
  23. 2:14 Or “you Jewish men.” This is also used in Acts 2:22; 3:12; 5:35; 13:16; 21:28.
  24. 2:15 Or “the third hour,” the time for Jewish morning prayer.
  25. 2:16 See Joel 2:28–32.
  26. 2:17 The New Testament term “the last days” began at Pentecost and extends until the return of Christ. We have technically been in “the last days” for over two thousand years.
  27. 2:17 Or “gush forth,” or “run greedily.” The Aramaic can be translated “I will be splashing my Spirit-Wind over all flesh” (humanity).
  28. 2:17 Or “divinely appointed appearances.” The Greek word for “visions,” horasis, can also mean “our eyes opened to have divine encounters and see into the spiritual realm.” These are not daydreams but visions of the heavenly realm. (See Strong’s Concordance, Gr. 3700 and 3706.)
  29. 2:17 This verse can be translated from the Aramaic as “Your grandparents shall see visions and your priests shall dream dreams.”
  30. 2:19 Or “columns [plumes] of smoke.” The Aramaic can be translated “the sweet smell of burning incense.”
  31. 2:20 This could be a figure of speech similar to “Lights out on the old order.” The Aramaic is “The sun will be in mourning.” Perhaps this prophecy was fulfilled when Christ was crucified.
  32. 2:21 The Aramaic can be translated “Whoever calls on the name of Jesus as the Messiah will receive life.”
  33. 2:22 Peter wisely begins his sermon with a recounting of Jewish history, keeping the main point of his sermon until the end. A great transformation had taken place in Peter, who had denied Christ three times only six weeks ago. Now he preaches with power and authority. This is the difference the Holy Spirit makes in the life of a believer.
  34. 2:22 Or “Jesus the Nazarene” (the Branch). The Aramaic word used here also implies the title of an heir of a powerful family, or one who is victorious (“Jesus, the Victorious”).
  35. 2:22 The Aramaic is “the man from God,” which may be an idiomatic saying for “the man born of God.”
  36. 2:24 As translated from the Aramaic, which can also be translated “God destroyed death’s destruction.” The Greek is “God freed him from the travails of death.” The Greek word translated “travails” is commonly used for the labor pains of childbirth.
  37. 2:25 See Ps. 16:8–11.
  38. 2:25 The Hebrew-Aramaic word is Yahweh.
  39. 2:25 As translated from the Aramaic. The Greek is “so that I will not be shaken.”
  40. 2:26 As translated from the Aramaic.
  41. 2:26 The Greek word for “live” (kataskenosei) is always used for “pitch a tent.” Or “My body will pitch its tent in hope (expectation).” The Aramaic is “Even my body he will restore to hope.”
  42. 2:27 The Aramaic is “Sheol”; the Greek is “Hades.” Both refer to the realm of death.
  43. 2:28 This Greek word (euphrosune) occurs only here and in Acts 14:17. It is the spirit of joy, an ecstasy that comes from God. The Aramaic is “You will fill me, O Sweetness, with your presence.”
  44. 2:30 See Ps. 132:11; Luke 1:32.
  45. 2:31 The Aramaic can be translated “David rose up after seeing a vision and he saw.”
  46. 2:32 Or “of whom we are witnesses,” which implies that they all had seen the resurrected Jesus.
  47. 2:33 The Aramaic is “splashed out the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
  48. 2:34 As translated from the Aramaic.
  49. 2:34 Or “at my right hand.”
  50. 2:35 See Ps. 110:1, which is the most frequently quoted Old Testament verse found in the New Testament. This shows there is a continuing work of defeating Christ’s enemies as his kingdom increases on earth as it is in heaven.
  51. 2:36 Or “all the house of Israel.”
  52. 2:36 Or “inescapably,” for no one can escape the claims of Christ.
  53. 2:36 The Aramaic is “Lord Yahweh made him [from birth] to be both Elohim and Messiah.” The Greek verb used for “made” can also mean “brought forth.” This is a clear statement of both Jesus’ humanity (God brought him forth by human birth) and his deity.
  54. 2:36 Y’shua (Jesus) is now Lord of a new creation company, a new heaven, and a new earth—he is Lord of all. The Greek word kurios is not necessarily a divine title. The Aramaic text uses a clear title of Jesus’ deity.
  55. 2:37 This Greek verb indicates the deepest sorrow and emotional agitation. It is taken from a root word that means “mortally wounded” and is found only here in all the New Testament.
  56. 2:37 The Aramaic contains an idiomatic figure of speech, “What do we need to do to be your brothers?”
  57. 2:38 The Greek word translated “repent” means both “to change the mind and direction of your life” and “to turn back to God.”
  58. 2:38 Peter was likely saying these words from the steps of the temple. Below him were dozens of mikveh (immersion pools used for ceremonial cleanings of Jewish worshipers). Peter was pointing them to the cleansing that comes through the name and authority of Jesus Christ. The Aramaic is startling: “Be immersed in the name of Lord Yahweh Y’shua.” Peter is clearly saying that Lord Yahweh and Jesus are one and the same.
  59. 2:39 The Aramaic can be translated “This outpouring is for you.”
  60. 2:39 Or “for those who are far away (gentiles).”
  61. 2:40 Or “Be free from and preserved from this crooked people!”
  62. 2:41 Although the word church is not in the text, it is implied. They were converted by the message of Peter and brought into the fellowship of the believers.
  63. 2:42 The Greek word didache means “skilled instruction and training.”
  64. 2:42 Or “They became partners.”
  65. 2:42 Or “breaking of bread.” This was more than sharing meals, but participating together in observing the Lord’s Table. The Aramaic, which can be translated “the Eucharist” or “holy communion,” makes it even more explicit.
  66. 2:42 Or “[all kinds of] prayers.”
  67. 2:43 Or “Fear [of God] came upon every person.”
  68. 2:43 The Aramaic adds, “in Jerusalem,” which is missing in the Greek.
  69. 2:44 Or “added into one body.”
  70. 2:47 As translated from the Aramaic. The Aramaic word for “church” is the joining of “meet” and “come.” This word is an invitation to enter into fellowship with Christ and his people. The Greek word for “church” is ekklesia, which is “called-out ones.” (See the second footnote on Matt. 16:18.)