In Acts 1 (looked at a few weeks ago) we read how the author, Luke, referred to his first book (the Gospel of Luke) as being about all that Jesus BEGAN to do and teach - even though it finished with his earthly life over.
The only reason this makes any sense, is because the book of Acts is all about what Jesus CONTINUED to do and teach - because he is alive with with us and in us through the Holy Spirit.
So as a backdrop to all of our weeks looking in the book of Acts, we need to have this question buzzing around the back of our minds: What is Jesus doing and teaching?
Jesus told his disciples in chapter 1 verse 8 that they should wait and that the Holy Spirit would come on them and they would be empowered to reach out in Jerusalem (chapters 1-7), in Judea and Samaria (chapters 8-12), and to the ends of the earth (chapters 13-28). He outlined what the rest of Acts is about.
So on the day of Pentecost, in the middle of the Jewish Festival giving thanks for the first evidence of a new harvest, the Holy Spirit came as the first evidence of a new harvest.
1. WHAT HAPPENED?
The Holy Spirit came - sounding of a rushing wind, and in flames of fire (wind and fire - two of the least tameable bits of nature! Surely speaking of the free untameable moving of the Holy Spirit) and previously scared and hidden disciples came out and were declaring God's wonders in many different languages and dialects to the people's amazement. It was absolutely amazing.
The people asked this question:
2. WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
Peter stood up and spoke and told them.
- Christ is central to God's plan - and he always was. This was always the plan. The cross was always the plan. Peter then quotes Joel chapter 2 (in the Old Jewish Scriptures) that the Spirit would come on all God's people and live within them, and they would have a vibrant living relationship with him - a new era would come. And this is it!
- Christ is alive - quoting Psalm 16, he shows how King David wrote of one who would not decay in the grave, but rise from death. David's grave was there for all to see - surely well rotted! But Jesus was now alive.
- Christ is over all - quoting Psalm 110v1, often quoted about Jesus (including by Jesus himself in Matthew 22) to note the way that King David there, refers to his descendant as 'my Lord' - his Master. Jesus Christ is Lord over all.
So Peter summarises it all saying (v36): God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, to be both Lord and Messiah!
So having heard this the people asked another question:
3. WHAT SHOULD WE DO?
Repent and be baptized. In other words, change your mind, you world view, your way of living, so that Jesus Christ is at the centre of it. Turning away from what is against his ways, and following him. And then demonstrating this by being baptized, a visual picture of cleansing and forgiveness of sins.
When we do, we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit aswell, living in us, giving us power to live for Christ, strengthening us, leading us, and changing us.
3000 people responded to the good news message that day. And many millions more since then. All because they grasped what life is all about.
It's all about Jesus.