Day of Pentecost - Bible Story Summary

The Holy Spirit Filled the Apostles on the Day of Pentecost

Day of Pentecost
Illustration of the apostles receiving the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. Peter Dennis / Getty Images

The Day of Pentecost marked a turning point in the early Christian church. Pentecost, a Jewish feast, was celebrated 50 days after Passover, and pilgrims had come to Jerusalem from all over the world to celebrate the event.

The 12 apostles were gathered together in a house when a terrific wind came from heaven and filled the place. They saw tongues that looked like fire, that separated and came down on each of them.

Immediately the apostles were filled with the Holy Spirit, who caused them to speak in tongues. The crowds of visitors were astonished because every pilgrim heard the apostles speaking to him or her in their own foreign language! Some accused the apostles of being drunk.

The Apostle Peter stood and addressed them, saying they were not drunk. It was only nine o'clock in the morning. Then, empowered by the Holy Spirit, Peter preached boldly to them, explaining about Jesus Christ and God's plan of salvation.

The crowd was so moved when Peter told them of their part in Jesus' crucifixion that they asked the apostles, "Brothers, what shall we do?" (Acts 2:37, NIV).

The right response, Peter told them, was to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sins. He promised that they would receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

They took the gospel message to heart. About 3,000 people were baptized and added to the fledgling Christian church on that Day of Pentecost.

Points of Interest About the Day of Pentecost

  • The apostles had chosen Mathias to replace Judas Iscariot, who had hanged himself. That brought their number back to 12.
  • Before his ascension into heaven, Jesus had promised his disciples that he would send the Holy Spirit to give them strength and wisdom to spread the gospel throughout the world. (Acts 1:8)
  • The apostles' ability to address these foreign visitors in their own languages was a miracle from God. After they were filled with the Holy Spirit, the 12 did many other miracles and wondrous signs.
  • Right from the start of the church, we see that God intended his offer of salvation to extend to all nations. Whoever calls on the name of Jesus, repents, and believes in him will be saved.
  • Today, 2,000 years later, believers in Jesus are still filled with the power of the Holy Spirit. We cannot live the Christian life without his help. We are to call on him whenever we need strength or guidance.

Question for Reflection

When it comes to Jesus Christ, each of us must answer the same question as these early seekers: "What shall we do?" Jesus cannot be ignored. Have you decided yet what you are going to do? If you want eternal life in heaven, there is only one correct response: Repent of your sins, be baptized in the name of Jesus, and turn to him for salvation.

Scripture Reference to Pentecost

Acts 2:1-41