Acts 2:1-13 The Promise Realized and the Curse Reversed

Acts 2:1-13

The Promise Realized and the Curse Reversed


We see in our passage the promised Spirit as well as so much of Acts 2:1-13 is connected to the Old Testament in either a clear reversal of the curse or in parallel with how God reveals himself and makes his presence known.

It would be easy to skip over those seeming small things and miss the continuity between testaments. Remember, this is how the Lord himself taught the disciples how to read the Scriptures after his resurrection (see Luke 24).

We will see in our text that at Pentecost the promise is realized and the curse is reversed.

Observation 1: What do we see?

1. God providentially planned Acts 2 long ago with and for strategic affect v. 1, 5, 6, 8-11

Leviticus 23:9-22

1. Firstfruits was an offering of the first of the harvest in trust the Lord would provide more.

2. Firstfruits was celebrated along with the “Feast of weeks” or “Pentecost” (v. 16 “…count 50 days to the day after the seventh Sabbath…”)

  • People were to come from all over to the temple and present their offerings.
  • Because the people would not obey the command to honor him among the nations, the Lord sent them away to Babylon for consequence but also mission. 

3. The Lord Jesus chose to send the Holy Spirit during the feasts he appointed in Leviticus 23 when people would be coming from nations far away.

The Lord Jesus said Acts 1:8 and he was fulfilling the promise he made to them that they would be his witnesses to Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth and he would empower and move it along in one providential act.

The disciples only needed to discover what he had already begun as they obeyed and went. 

4. At the sound, which apparently was heard all over the city, the people rushed together to the location of the upper room.

What does it mean?

1. As the Lord would cause the harvest of food to come about, he would likewise bring about the harvest of 3,000 people at the preaching of the gospel at Pentecost.

2. The people were to come from their homes to the place the Lord appointed, so the Lord picked a day on which people from all known nations would be present.

3. The Lord scattered his people all over the world through the Babylonian captivity so they would them have to make homes there and come to worship yearly (Babylonian captivity was part of the good plan A).

4. By obeying the law people from all over the world were gathered to hear the gospel of the kingdom.

5. God ordained this moment to have all those transplants hear the gospel of the kingdom in their adopted language so they could understand.

6. God would save people from all of these places with the gospel of the kingdom, make them disciples, send them back to their domains of society and build his church (KDSC)

What do we do?

1. Take heart that Father is good and is working things out with providentially strategic precision.

2. There is good to be had in obedience.

3. God’s power is freely given to do God’s work, so get on God’s plan through hearing and obeying his word.

Observation 2: What do we see?

2. Holy Spirit is sent as a rushing wind to empower and to mobilize a kingdom of people v. 2

“It was “an echoing sound as of a mighty wind borne violently” (or rushing along like the whirr of a tornado).”

Ezekiel 37:1-14 “And I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I am the Lord; I have spoken, and I will do it, declares the Lord.”

Verse 14 of Ezekiel 37 looks forward to this day because only in the New Covenant does the Spirit come to remain. So this raised kingdom of people are a New Covenant people Ezekiel saw and they would inherit the whole earth.

What does it mean?

1. God does his work in the public square. (verse 5 lets us know that this was so loud folks came running to see)

2. With Pentecost we see that God keeps his word to his people. He did what he told Ezekiel he would do.

3. Holy Spirit can resurrect spiritually bankrupt people and give them new life. The gospel is powerful.

What do we do?

1. We are to work in the public square of our domains.

2. We are to take heart that God will keep his word and raise up a people from all nations in subduing the domains of creation (Genesis 1:26-28).

3. We take heart that the gospel of the kingdom is powerful and all we have to do is tell it.

Observation 3: What do we see?

3. Holy Spirit comes as fire sent to empower a kingdom of people. v. 3

“Fire had always been, with the Jews, the symbol of the Divine presence (cf. Ex. 3:2; Deut. 5:4). No symbol could be more fitting to express the Spirit’s purifying energy and refining energy” (Furneaux).

Matthew 3:11 “I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”

Exodus 19:18 “Now Mount Sinai was wrapped in smoke because the Lord had descended on it in fire. The smoke of it went up like the smoke of a kiln, and the whole mountain trembled greatly.”

Exodus 24:17 “Now the appearance of the glory of the Lord was like a devouring fire on the top of the mountain in the sight of the people of Israel.”

What does it mean?

1. Fire accompanies the presence of the Lord as visible witness to his presence, therefore, God is giving witness to his presence in a way they completely understood.

2. The God of the bible, the third person of the Trinity, Holy Spirit, has come to remain on and in his people and Father has made his presence known.

3. The transition between the old covenant and the new covenant has taken place and Spirit is now here to stay.

What do we do?

1. We are to welcome the presence of Holy Spirit and recognize his presence.

(See John 14-16)

– He is Father and Son’s presence with us

– He is Counselor

– He is Helper

– He is Reminder of what Jesus has said

– He is Empowerer of super-natural ministry

– He is Guide to truth

– He is Convincer of sin, righteousness and judgment

– He is God’s Presence

2. We are to not run from but run to all of Holy Spirit we can handle

3. We are to live in constant awareness of his presence and his person (“he” not “it”)

4. We are to relate to Spirit as a person not a thing

– Listen to him

– Speak to him

– Submit to him as authority

Observation 4: What do we see?

4. Pentecost reverses Babel v. 4

Genesis 11:1-9

Through the Spirit’s empowerment the disciples begin to speak in the languages of the people gathered from the nations they were scattered to.

This is the exact reversal of the curse of Babel.

What does it mean?

1. The curse of the fall, as manifested at Babel, has been broken.

2. Cross-cultural work is not only wide open but commanded and doable!

3. Language is not a barrier

4. Culture is not a barrier

What do we do?

1. We are to be on the mission of expanding the kingdom through the proclaiming the message.

2. We have zero excuses or barriers to prevent joining the Spirit on the mission of Jesus’ rule in every domain of society in every nation.

Observation 5: What do we see?

5. God can use anyone who will hear and obey v. 7

These Galileans with the terrible hick accent are speaking clearly in other languages well.

The Galilean accent was known as the uneducated accent among the people of Israel. It’s like the really thick southern accent people of Yankee decent associate with ignorance.

What does it mean?

1. There is no barrier to being an instrument of God’s grace except disobedience.

2. God uses the weak and what is considered less by some to shame the strong and the worldly wise.

What do we do?

1. Just hear and obey.

Observation 6: What do we see?

6. Some will be attracted to the kingdom and some will be repelled v. 12-13

Some were amazed and sought meaning.

Some accused the disciples of being drunk.

What does it mean?

1. The gospel of the kingdom will either attract or repel. Its just what it does.

2. The message will do the work. We don’t have to help it.

What do we do?

1. Liberally spread the good news of Jesus’ reign and rule along with the invitation to repent and believe.

2. Trust the Spirit to awaken. This will be seen in our next passage as 3,000 repent and believe.

3. Be ready to receive the fruit.


Psalm 147:1 “Praise the Lord! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting.”

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