This chapter opens with the 120 or so believers gathered together ….. and suddenly there was a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house and tongues of fire … rested on each one.
Jesus had compared the Spirit working to a wind in John 3 and here it was like a mighty wind which is appropriate for the baptism of the Holy Spirit promised in Acts 1:4. The word baptism can mean immersion or overwhelming. Fire often accompanied the presence of God like it did in the burning bush, or the pillar of fire, in Exodus, or in Isaiah’s and Ezekiel’s visions.
As the Holy Spirit filled them, they spoke praising God in other languages enabled by the Holy Spirit. This caused a crowd of Jews to gather. They came from a large part of the middle east and Peter takes the opportunity to speak to them. This is the first instance of somebody being a witness to Jesus, and witnessing powerfully just like it says in Acts 1:8:
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth
He explained that this had all been promised by the prophet Joel, that the Holy Spirit would be poured out, and he quotes the end of Joel’s prophecy that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved, later he makes clear it is Jesus’ name by which we are saved (v38). He talks about Jesus’ resurrection being prophesied by David, then Jesus was exalted to the right hand of God, from where he poured out the Holy Spirit which is what they were all seeing and hearing. He says: “Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified” That is, Jesus is the Jewish Messiah they are all waiting for, and, Lord, he was God himself, the I am, as Jesus had stated several times throughout his ministry. This message obviously got through because they were all cut to the heart, saying, “what shall we do?”
Peter’s answer, “Repent and be baptised every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” So 3000 people are saved.
What strikes me about this passage amongst the amazing supernatural events is that this exactly matches what Jesus had said about the Holy Spirit in John 16, he convicts people of sin and righteousness and judgement, and he glorifies Jesus (John 16:8-14). With this, the church is born and the description of it at the end is great, it is what our church should be like too, with people devoted to:
The apostles teaching (listening to it and implementing what they heard, now recorded in the Bible)
Fellowship (sharing their lives together)
Sharing communion and meals together
Sharing possessions generously
Results: awe came upon everyone in the group, many wonders and signs were done through the apostles, people joined them daily.