In this third and final post on Pentecost, we will look at the prayer meeting that helped set the conditions prescribed by Jesus for the coming of the Holy Spirit, as well as the day of His arrival.
Initially, we know that Jesus commanded His disciples to tarry in Jerusalem until they were filled with heavenly power.
“Behold I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.” (Luke 24:49)
“And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, ‘which,’ He said, ‘you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.’” (Acts 1:4-5)
Even though the disciples were not specifically instructed to continue gathering together after Jesus ascended on the Mount of Olives, they continued anyway. In fact, as soon as they returned to Jerusalem, they began a prayer meeting in an upper room of their residence, and this prayer meeting continued until the Holy Spirit arrived.
“Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey. And when they had entered, they went up into the upper room where they were staying: Peter, James, John, and Andrew; Philip and Thomas; Bartholomew and Matthew; James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot; and Judas the son of James. These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers. And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples (altogether the number of names was about a hundred and twenty)…” (Acts 1:12-15)
There are a few key takeaways here that must be addressed. First, the disciples immediately put action to the commands of Jesus, and began assembling together as soon as they returned to Jerusalem. They did not hesitate or take a few weeks to formulate a plan and print programs…they immediately obeyed. They trusted the Word of Jesus and put action to His command to “tarry in the city of Jerusalem” (Luke 24:49).
Second, the disciples did not sit around aimlessly waiting on the Promise to arrive. In more modern terms, they did not sit around on their phones or binge watch Netflix…they prayed together as one voice and one people in expectation of the arrival of the Promise and the accompanying power that He would bring.
As this prayer meeting continued and the disciples conducted some types of “church” business, such as choosing another disciple for themselves (Acts 1:15-26), the unity and agreement in prayer and supplication continued. Even on the day of His arrival, the Holy Spirit found them both physically and spiritually together in one place.
“When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.” (Acts 2:1)
On the day of the Holy Spirit’s arrival, there were three demonstrations of awesome power just as Jesus had told them.
“And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” (Acts 2:2-4)
First, there was the sound of a mighty, rushing wind that filled the whole house. One of the most powerful demonstrations of God’s awesome power that we can physically see is the wind. For anyone who has lived through a major hurricane or tornado can affirm this…the wind can both create (sand dunes, assist in pollination, etc.) and destroy (hurricanes, tornadoes, erosion, etc.), and both actions require tremendous power.
The second and third demonstration of power occurred together: fire and the human tongue. Immediately following the wind, there were tongues of fire that rested upon each individual in attendance. We all know of the awesome power of fire, especially as we watch massive wildfires or a blazing structure fire. However, we often neglect the power of the human tongue, and the words that our tongues speak.
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” (Proverbs 18:21)
“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” (Proverbs 15:1)
“And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.” (James 3:6-8)
However, these tongues were not ordinary human tongues, but tongues of fire from heaven! When I envision these fiery tongues coming down from heaven, I am quickly reminded of the hot coal that God placed on the tongue of Isaiah.
“Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth with it, and said: ‘Behold, this has touched your lips; y our iniquity is taken away, and your sin purged.’” (Isaiah 6:6-7)
When these tongues of fire sat upon each of the disciples, “they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” (Acts 2:4) In addition to the new tongues and languages spoken here, whether heavenly or earthly, there is something just as miraculous happening here as well. Yes, I believe the Holy Spirit gives utterance of a heavenly language within a believer, but something else is happening here that most people miss.
As James 3:8 tells us, no one can tame their tongue in their own power…only through the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit can a human tongue be tamed. Furthermore, a human tongue is transformed by Holy Spirit power from a tool of death to a tool of everlasting life…speaking forth the “wonderful works of God” (Acts 2:11). Every single person in attendance began to speak forth these works with such conviction and clarity in many different languages that the crowd marveled and stood in amazement because these were common people!
When both the human tongue and the Holy Fire of the Spirit join together, the former pit of death that it once was is miraculously transformed into a fountain of life that can only spring forth from the Holy Spirt…as He glorifies Jesus Christ and empowers each believer to fulfill all aspects of the Great Commission. We see the immediate evidence of this by the actions of Peter following the Holy Spirit’s arrival in Acts 2:14-40 and the results of Holy Spirit’s power in believers in the following passage:
“Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.” (Acts 2:40-47)
In conclusion to this series, let us always remember the true meaning and context of Pentecost, as well as the power and acts that the Holy Spirit brought with Him when He arrived. Every believer should continuously evaluate whether they are actively executing every tenet of the Great Commission of Christ as the Holy Spirit equips and prompts us. Let us neither forsake the utterance of the Holy Spirit, regardless of the type of language, nor forsake the acts of power that show forth the mighty works of God!
- All Scripture references are taken from the New King James Version translation, unless otherwise stated.