The Descending Spirit
Acts 2:1-4
And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.…

Notice —


1. It is interesting that the Holy Spirit should have been conferred at Jerusalem, the capital of the old faith. It is not God's way to inaugurate the new by any harsh abandonments of the old. The Christian is only the Jewish Church led forth into a new stage of development. As the two lay in Christ's mind there was no break between them. "I came not to destroy, but to fulfil." It was suitable, then, that where the old Church had matured, the new Church should germinate.

2. It is impossible to say with exactness where in Jerusalem the disciples were gathered. It is barely possible that it was in some portion of the temple edifice. If that were the case it would only be in the line of what has just been said.

3. This first giving of the Spirit was at Pentecost. Still another proof of this is that God would like to have us consider Christianity as a graft upon an old stock.

4. As to the nature of the miracle. Was it a gift of "tongues," or a gift of "ears"? The most casual perusal is sufficient to convince that it was the disciples that were inspired to speak. The hearers were not in a mood to be inspired. The Holy Ghost works inspiringly upon those who are in sympathy with Him; and this these foreign residents at Jerusalem were not.


1. The Christian Church was born at Pentecost. The materials were already present, but standing out of organic relation with each ether. It was the brooding of the Spirit that produced the formless elements of things into a shapely and prolific world. It was the inbreathing of God into the being of our first parent that developed him into a living soul. It was the influx similarly of the Divine Spirit that composed the disciples of Christ into an organised and living Church.

2. This was the first Christian revival of religion. The Church was born in a revival, and the survival of the Church has been along a continuous line of revival. There is nothing in the whole New Testament narrative more startling than the transformation which the Twelve suddenly underwent on the fiftieth day after Calvary. A cultivated ministry and well-appointed churches are well enough in their way; they are suitable for the conveyance of power, but are not themselves power. They are to positive spiritual efficacy only what riverbeds are to the floods that are set to roll in them. The early Church, as compared with the modern, was poor in appliances; but one sermon then converted three thousand men, and now it takes three thousand sermons to convert one man. The difference between the times is largely difference of power.

3. The Spirit descended upon the disciples when they were together. The full meaning of Christianity is not exhausted in any relation in which it sets us individually to Christ. There are blessings that accrue to Christians only by their standing in fellowship with each ether. The first Christian revival was inaugurated in a prayer-meeting. It is easy, and rather common, to treat prayer-meetings with disparagement. But it is generally found that when a revival comes it begins in God's revelation of Himself to saints that draw near to one another in prayer.

4. This first revival of religion began with the spiritual replenishment of those already Christian. It is time wasted, and runs counter to the Divine order of things, for a Church that is not itself revived to attempt revivalistic operations among the unconverted. Christianity, to the degree in which it extends itself, does so as a kind of contagion. The result of "gotten-up" revivals is only man-made Christians; and man-made Christians stand in the way of their own conversion and add to the inertia of the Church.

6. After the Ascension the disciples simply waited for Pentecost. There was no further work that needed to be wrought in them before its bestowment. And we shall always receive the Divine baptism just as soon as there is nothing on our part that hinders it. "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, and prove Me now herewith," etc.

6. The Holy Spirit descended upon all the disciples. So far as we are Holy Ghost Christians, all substantial distinctions in this respect between the laity and the clergy are erased.

7. The Holy Spirit revealed Himself outwardly in the shape of tongues. This was prophetic of the way in which revealed truth was to be disseminated. It does not suffice that men should simply live lives of Christian constancy. Christ not only lived, He preached. The first revival, then, opened men's mouths and set men talking. There is no place for silent Christians under the administration of the Holy Ghost. The pressure of God upon the heart inevitably finds escape at the lip.

(G. H. Parkhurst, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.

WEB: Now when the day of Pentecost had come, they were all with one accord in one place.

The Day of Pentecost: the Manifestation of the Spirit
Top of Page
Top of Page