Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.
The Scriptorium

Full of New Wine?

Of course not! But... Acts 2.5-13

The Beginning of the Last Days: Acts 2 (2)

Pray Psalm 67.1, 2.
God be merciful to us and bless us,
And cause His face to shine upon us,
Selah
That Your way may be known on earth,
Your salvation among all nations.

Sing Psalm 67.1, 2, 3.

(Solid Rock: My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less)
O bless us, Savior, by Your grace, and shine upon us with Your face,
That we Your way may loud proclaim and tell to all the earth Your fame!
Refrain v. 3
Let all the peoples praise You, Lord, rejoicing in Your holy Word!
Rejoicing in Your holy Word!

Read Acts 2.1-13; meditate on verses 5-13.

Preparation

1. How did the Spirit move the believers?

2. How did the people in Jerusalem respond?

Meditation
All these diverse people were Jews or proselytes (Gentile converts to Judaism, v. 11) who had assembled in Jerusalem for the feast of the first fruits. The giving of the Spirit adds another layer of meaning to this feast, since His coming fulfills the promise inherent in the feast of first fruits. On this first Christian Pentecost, the first fruits of the ongoing work of Christ were being gathered. The miraculous power of the Spirit was at work in the disciples as well as in those who heard them.

This is not a miracle of “hearing” though, as some have supposed; we’ve already seen that the disciples were speaking in tongues as the Spirit enabled them. It must have taken a bit of time for people to find their way to someone speaking “the mighty works of God” (v. 11) in their own language, and this would only have multiplied the excitement and the wonder.

Naturally, people wanted an explanation: “What does this mean?” It’s human nature to seek an explanation of things we can’t readily grasp, even if that explanation is a dismissive one (v. 13). God uses people’s natural curiosity to open hearts and minds to spiritual truths, but for that curiosity to be piqued, some remarkable evidence of spiritual life is required. The disciples proclaiming the Good News in languages they’d never learned were not drunk. But they were, indeed, filled with the new wine of the Spirit (Matt. 9.17).

The ongoing work of Christ involves the Spirit filling the Church, the Church going to the world, and the Lord of the harvest bringing in the sheaves of His people’s sowing. This is the work to which we are called as witnesses for Jesus Christ.

Treasure Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
“Others mocking said, ‘They are full of new wine’” (Acts 2.13).

Seriously? If you are full of new wine, you are probably not able to make much sense at all.
But isn’t that just like those who don’t want to believe? They have a negative response to an amazing act.

Reminds one of the Egyptian magicians, no? Talk about being perplexed, their situation always amazes me.
Moses and Aaron have called down horrific plagues onto the people of Egypt. And what did the magicians do? They replicated the horrors. Go figure. They made more bloody water. And they filled the land with an extra dose of frogs. But then when they tried to make more lice. Ooops. Their powers were gone. (Ex. 7.22; 8.7, 18) And the people rejoiced. Does their behavior make sense to anyone? Does the response of the naysayers in Jerusalem?

God was doing an amazing and perplexing work and their hearts should have been filled with awe!

The unschooled disciples were speaking in at least 15 different languages or dialects. Pretty impressive.

And what were they speaking? They were speaking of the wonderful works of God! (Acts 2.11). We are being shown the power of the Holy Spirit, and the negativity of unbelieving man.

It is a fair warning to all concerning what life in the Kingdom will look like. Amazing joy, and maybe persecution. Jesus beforehand said, “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matt. 5.11, 12).

Responses to us will be about the same. We should be ready for that. And we must be ready for the question “Whatever could this mean?” (Acts 2.12) “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed” (1 Pet. 3.15, 16).

When we are filled with the Holy Spirit, others may accuse us of being full of new wine; or they might be unkind to us, or worse. And yet it is the exciting work that we have been called to do. And do it we can and must. We have been forewarned that people’s responses toward God and His righteousness have historically been perplexing. Jesus has told us that it may be so. But “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Tim. 1.7).

Not the least bit woozy; but fully filled and sound!

For reflection
1. Is there any good reason for believers to fear what unbelievers might think about them? Explain.

2. Why should we expect unbelievers to be sometimes antagonistic toward our faith?

3. How does the Holy Spirit work to help an unbeliever hear and believe the Gospel?

The visitors to Jerusalem probably expected the apostles to use Aramaic or Greek, but instead they heard their own dialect. The visitors were astonished because they knew this was most unlikely unless the speakers had come from their land. This was a sign from heaven, a supernatural event. Earl Radmacher (1931-2014) NKJV Study Bible Notes on Acts 2.5-11

Pray Psalm 67.3-7.

Pray that God will use you today to share in the ongoing work of Jesus, as He brings the Good News of His Kingdom to the world.

Sing Psalm 67.3-7
(Solid Rock: My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less)
Let all the nations gladly sing and joyous praise before You bring;
You judge them by Your holy worth and guide the nations of the earth.
Refrain v. 3
Let all the peoples praise You, Lord, rejoicing in Your holy Word!
Rejoicing in Your holy Word!

The earth in full its bounty yields – the blessed harvest of the fields.
We gather blessings from Your Word that all the earth may fear You, Lord.
Refrain v. 3

T. M. and Susie Moore

You can listen to a summary of last week’s Scriptorium study by going to our website, www.ailbe.org, and clicking theScriptorium tab for last Sunday. For more about what Jesus is doing at the right hand of God, order a free copy of our book, What in Heaven Is Jesus Doing on Earth? (click here).

You can download any or all of the studies in this series on Acts by clicking here.

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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available by clicking here.

 

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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