Highlights from Acts:  Session 2

Key theme:  Connecting Dots Between the Old and New Testaments 

Augustine said regarding the relationship between the Old and New Testaments:

The new is in the old concealed; the old is in the new revealed.

By using Old Testament references, the New Testament writers show us how to connect the dots.  They interpret the Old Testament — its prophecies, imagery and rituals — for us.

Both the Old and New Testaments declare the oneness of God.

The SHEMA of the Old Testament declares:  Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. (Deuteronomy 6:4)

Throughout the New Testament the writers confess the same thing in the Trinity:  Hear, O people of God, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Father, Son and Holy Spirit, yet one God.

The Jewish Festal Calendar is key to understanding the main event of Acts 2:  The filling of the Holy Spirit on the first Pentecost after Jesus’s resurrection.

The 7 Jewish feasts proclaim the rest that God has ushered in by His actions in the past of redemption and deliverance (Passover & Feast of Unleavened Bread in the Old Testament and the Eucharist in the New Testament); His actions present of sustenance or filling and the final feast celebrates His promises future, of blessing and wholeness, which are made all the more sure because of His actions past and present.

The events of Acts 2 took place during one of the pilgrimage feasts called The Feast of Weeks (also called Pentecost in Greek because it took place 7 weeks or 50 days after Passover) when Jewish pilgrims from all over the known world journeyed to the temple in Jerusalem.   It’s the conclusion of Passover and the beginning of Harvest.  In offering the firstfruits to God, the people acknowledged that He was the source of all that is good … that He was the God who provides … that He was all that they needed. In turn, God called Israel His first fruits — Israel was holy to the Lord, the firstfruits of his harvest (Jeremiah 2:3).

Pentecost celebrates God’s provision & promise and carries with it the sense of being filled with God.

Fifty days after the Passover … and Jesus’ crucifixion … Jerusalem was again bursting with Jewish pilgrims who had gathered together from all over the known world for Pentecost — but on that special morning over 2000 years ago, as the disciples gathered together in one place, the sound of a mighty rushing wind filled the air, and fire came down, divided into tongues, and lit on the heads of each of the disciples — filling them, for the first time, with the Holy Spirit. 

The disciples overflowed so fully with God’s Spirit, that they rushed outside and loudly told of God’s marvelous gift of grace through Jesus Christ, the Passover Lamb … of Jesus, the Unleavened Bread of Life. They spoke in multiple languages so that the many worshipers gathered for the Feast of Weeks heard the Gospel message in their own native tongues. Peter preached the sermon of a lifetime — And God, being rich in mercy, and drawing hearts to Himself through the preaching of His Word, added 3,000 men to the church that day.

The Bible is all one Story about the One God, Father, Son and Spirit, who rescues, redeems, delivers and saves. He is FOR us …. The God on whom we can stretch out and rest.