RECAP Acts: When the Day of Pentecost Came . . .


From now until the end of the month we will be re-releasing highlights from our Wake-Up Call Acts journey together. Join us on December 1 when we begin our new series celebrating Advent—Protagonist by Matt and Josh LeRoy. 


Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you. 

Jesus, I belong to you.

I lift up my heart to you.
I set my mind on you.
I fix my eyes on you.
I offer my body to you as a living sacrifice.

Jesus, we belong to you. 

Praying in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, amen. 

Acts 2:1–13 (NIV)

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.

 Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?”

Some, however, made fun of them and said, “They have had too much wine.”


Perhaps the most important words from today’s text might be the most neglected words. They are a question. 

Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?”

Let’s gather around this question as we enter into a week-long reflection on the day of Pentecost, the birthday of the church. 

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 

The day of Pentecost was an annual feast day for the people of Israel. It was fifty days (hence pente) after the celebration of Passover. Then and now, the people of God follow the calendar of God which is measured and marked by the mighty acts of God. It coincided with the farming season as well, with Passover marking the offering of the first fruits of the harvest and Pentecost marking the full harvest culmination.

Notice now who was present. They were all together in one place but look at all the places from which they came:

Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 

We are witnessing the birth of a global phenomenon. Notice how the church did not grow to become a global church. It began as a global church. Every nation under heaven is present from the beginning. The church was born in one place and yet at the same time, it was born in every nation under heaven. Remember our working definition: The church is the power of God in the presence of people for the sake of the world. 

Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.

We see the same phenomenon at the birth of creation, with the wind of God blowing over the face of the waters. The Spirit of God is on the one hand a mighty wind bringing forth a new creation and on the other an intimate breath breathing forth the message of the gospel. 

All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. 

The gift of tongues as human languages was both important and imperative on the day of Pentecost. Otherwise, how could the gospel be declared to persons from every nation under heaven? The gifts of the Spirit are given for the building of the church. Notice how this is the reversal of what happened at the Tower of Babel. After building a monument to themselves and their quest to claim the place of God, God confused their language and people could no longer understand one another. Ever since we have wandered the earth and made war against one another and God. On the day of Pentecost, everyone understood the message of the gospel in their own language. Diversity of languages—unity of message. I’ll reserve a controversial comment concerning the gift of tongues for the notes below.1 

They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 

And there it is. Why not be completely changed into fire? The day of Pentecost is the beginning of the journey from Theophilus to theophany; from Abbot Lot to Abbot Joseph; from creation to new creation; from heaven to on earth as it is in heaven; from Jesus in one place to Jesus everywhere. 

Happy birthday, church. 


Lord Jesus, I am your witness. 

I receive your righteousness and release my sin. 
I receive your wholeness and release my brokenness.
I receive your fullness and release my emptiness.
I receive your creativity and release my chaos.
I receive your healing and release my sickness. 
I receive your joy and release my despair.
I receive your rest and release my striving. 

Come Holy Spirit transform my heart, mind, soul, and strength so that my consecration becomes your demonstration; that our lives become your sanctuary. For the glory of God our Father, amen. 


Your turn to tackle the question of the day on the day of Pentecost: What does this mean? What does it mean to you? How do you reflect on the meanings we have explored so far? Are you ready to be completely changed into fire? Sketch some of your thoughts in your Wake Up Call Journal


Today we will sing a majestic hymn to the Trinity: “Come, Thou Almighty King.”It is hymn 27 in our Seedbed hymnal, Our Great Redeemer’s Praise.

For the Awakening,
J. D. Walt

P. S. Would You Share a Word Back?

Please take two minutes to give us some feedback on the recent Wake-Up Call series. I would greatly appreciate it. LINK HERE.


  1. The great irony of the day of Pentecost is the confusion that has ensued over speaking in tongues. Many have thought and taught that the sign one is filled by the Spirit is speaking in tongues. On the day of Pentecost, the gift of tongues was given for the sake of the clear proclamation of the gospel to all of the nations on the earth rather than to verify one was filled by the Spirit. It was not the definitive sign of the Spirit’s infilling then nor is it now. It is one gift of many in the Spirit’s portfolio of gifts in the hands of Jesus to build his church. On the day of Pentecost, we see the gift of tongues being expressed as the tongues of men (i.e., the languages of human beings). The tongues of angels Paul refers to in 1 Corinthians 13 are of another order. Often this is referred to as a prayer language. Many have claimed and taught that the manifestation of tongues as a prayer language is the definitive sign of the infilling of the Holy Spirit. While I affirm both the tongues of men and of angels as bonafide gifts of the Spirit, I simply do not see the biblical warrant for the claim that tongues are the definitive sign of being filled by the Holy Spirit. I would say the gifted presence and expression of divine love is the definitive sign of the infilling of the Holy Spirit. There are the gifts of the Spirit and then there is the gift of the Spirit. Love is the gift and love gives the gifts. Much needs to be said here and we can perhaps say it as we go along. 

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WHAT IS THIS? Wake-Up Call is a daily encouragement to shake off the slumber of our busy lives and turn our eyes toward Jesus. Each morning our community gathers around a Scripture, a reflection, a prayer, and a few short questions, inviting us to reorient our lives around the love of Jesus that transforms our hearts, homes, churches, and cities.

Comments and Discussion

6 Responses

  1. What does the event of the Day of Pentecost mean? It is the fulfillment of the gift that Jesus promised his Apostles upon his ascension into heaven, the fulfillment of John the Baptist that the one who followed himself would baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire, and the promise from Christ that his followers would be clothed with power from above in order to accomplish the Great Commission. For me personally, it means that Christ has through the gift of the Holy Spirit empowered me with the supernatural strength to accomplish my calling. I’m in full agreement with JD’s take on the gift of tongues. After listening to divergent teachings on this, I embarked upon a lengthy study of this and came to the conclusion that while the gift of tongues is still a valid gift today, it is NOT THE ONLY INITIAL EVIDENCE of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. I’m convinced that this gift is one of several different gifts and is in no way superior to any of the other ones. Also the fruit of the Spirit is a much more reliable evidence of the indwelling of the HS than any of the gifts, since Satan can and has produced counterfeit gifts in order to mislead people.

  2. An honest question to ask in church: “Is this that?”

    On the day of Pentecost Peter proclaimed: “This is that which was spoke of by the prophet Joel, ‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.'”

    2,000 years later, is this Sunday morning “service” that we call “church” still that same outpouring of God’s Spirit where everyday people prophesy, see visions, and dream dreams? Is this programmed religious meeting the same Spirit-released celebration that made the first Christians seem like they were drunk on the day of Pentecost?

    To answer honestly, I have to answer with a “no.” I searched for decades for a church service that would make me cry out like Peter, “This is that!”

    I encountered the risen Jesus in a “this is that meeting” in a college dorm. We experienced His presence guiding us every time we gathered. It was Spirit-led and indescribably awesome (like the Asbury Awakening 2023). I was ruined and could never be satisfied without that again, so I searched for that in churches. I attended all kinds all around the USA and I even graduated from seminary and pastored several churches, but no matter how I tried the attendees didn’t appreciate my attempts to turn their this into God’s that.

    And then one day The Salvation Army approached my wife and me and asked us to start a “non-traditional church” in a violent inner-city neighborhood. We jumped at the chance. For ten years we met on Sunday mornings with no program or agenda, just trusting the Spirit to prompt ordinary people to share testimonies, Scriptures, revelations, prayers, prayer requests, gifts of the Spirit, short teachings, etc. And wow! We went home every Sunday overcome by the “this is that” feeling and astonished by that which we had seen the living Jesus do in and through everyday people.

    I’ve never understood how someone can read the book of Acts and believe that it is describing a typically arranged church service. What happened in Acts and what happens in the average church service seem totally different to me. My heart cries out, “Lord, enough human organization and lukewarmness. We desperately need that which was spoken of by Peter and by Joel!”

    So, if this (a typical church service) isn’t that, where can we find that? The key to that which happened at Pentecost (and at Asbury in 1970 and 2023) is people letting Jesus give them a hungry, honest, humble, open, obedient, repentant, and surrendered heart. Without that, we’re just programming to suit our own desires.

  3. From hovering over the face of the earth, a burning bush, descending like a dove, to wind and fire, the Holy Spirit is God, and God comes in the way the event demands.
    I agree wholeheartedly with the Note about speaking in tongues. I have witnessed many trying to force themselves to speak in tongues (as I did years ago) because it was expected of them, and they wanted to be accepted. When that didn’t happen, they, as I did, left feeling unfilled, “Guess that means the Holy Spirit isn’t with me. I must not be worthy.” It’s a lie of the devil.
    On the flip side, a fellow bragged about being filled with the Holy Spirit and having a prayer language.
    I said, “Prayer is the language of God.”

    Jeremiah 29:12
    Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.

    Staying 💪’n Christ
    Ephesians 6:10
    Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.

  4. I agree that speaking in tongues is not a superior gift and those who pray for it but don’t receive it are not deserving. I’m sad that the enemy has used that lie for so long to make this gift so controversial . In the 70’s there was a powerful move of the Holy Spirit among Catholics. At the time my husband and I were changed for life as we studied what the Bible said about being “born again.” With many others after the 6 week study we repented of sin and admitted we were believers that Jesus died for us. Many but not all received the gift of tongues that night. It was emphasized it was one of the many gifts God gives His people. Some would receive and to think of it as just one gift God has for His flock.

    I did receive it and I’m 77 now and it’s my personal prayer language . I know many who have it but don’t and won’t talk about it since it’s a gift in their alone time with God. And because it became controversial.

    I dont have other gifts given to others and feel so happy God has a different path for each of us. We go to a community church now, but know many Catholics who got born again in the 70’s stayed with their churches.

    1. Dianne, we used to watch a program on EWTN, Catholic television, entitled The Journey Home. On one particular episode, the host was interviewing some folks who were Charismatic Catholics. I was impressed on how similar that the thoughts they expressed were so similar to other Protestant Charismatics that it would have been impossible to tell the difference if this interview had taken place elsewhere. One body, one Spirit, one Lord.

  5. We need the Holy Spirit to awaken us from our holiday daze! Then we can live daily in the personal experience of Pentecost.

    Pentecost demonstrates:
    If you’ll let God’s Spirit
    Fill your days
    With His praise
    The mental haze
    Will clear
    And you’ll hear
    Him speaking
    In your inner ear.

    If you’re experiencing
    A hollow daze
    During the holidays,
    Turn your gaze
    And your praise
    Toward Jesus
    And let Him raise
    Your level of peace.

    Jesus was born once, not once a year. Because of Jesus we can be born again and transformed by His presence. Every day’s a good day to say: “Thank You, Jesus!”

    The Hollow-Day Season? Thanksgiving without a sincere “Thank You, Jesus,” and Christmas without a heart-felt “Praise You, Jesus,” make for an empty Hollow-Day Season.

    Hollow days are seldom happy. Hollow days echo with loneliness and create a mental daze without end. Let the risen Jesus who was born in Bethlehem fill your days with hope.

    The holidays that make me happy involve thanking God and adoring Jesus! Every day’s a good day to say: “Thank You, Jesus!”

    The best Christmas decorations are when Christ decorates your heart with His presence and fills you with the experience of Pentecost! When Jesus is truly living inside of you, every day is Christmas! Christ’s forgiveness can give you a white Christmas every day. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.”

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