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The text for this lesson is Acts 2:1–21

Key Point

  • At Pentecost, God sent the Holy Spirit to His Church. Through Word and Sacrament, God gives us His Holy Spirit to create and sustain saving faith in Jesus.
  • Law: I sin when I believe that I can understand and trust in God on my own.
  • Gospel: By the power and work of the Holy Spirit through His Word, the Spirit grants me faith in Jesus and empowers me to will and do that which is good and God pleasing.

Discussion Points

  1. Compare John 19:34; 20:20–23 with 1 John 5:6–8. What connections between Jesus’ death and the Holy Spirit can we draw from these passages? How would Jesus later hand over the Holy Spirit to His followers?
  2. Jesus told His disciples not to leave Jerusalem and start their evangelization of the whole world until they were “clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:49). They were to wait for the promise of His Father (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4), the Holy Spirit with which they would be baptized (Acts 1:5). Even before Jesus’ ministry began, the disciples were being taught to anticipate Pentecost. How does Acts 2:1–4 describe the fulfillment of this prophecy? What does the wind symbolize? What does the fire symbolize? Why is the traditional liturgical color of Pentecost red?
  3. We are familiar with Peter’s previous failures to confess Jesus. Yet on Pentecost, we see a different side of Peter. How does Acts 2:14 portray him? What could account for this change? See 2 Timothy 1:6–7.
  4. In John 14:26, Jesus tells His disciples that “the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” How do John 2:18–22 and 12:12–16 illustrate the working out of this promise?
  5. The Holy Spirit allowed the disciples to, in retrospect, understand the true meaning of the words or works of Jesus and of the Old Testament. How does the Spirit work to accomplish in our lives what Jesus did for His disciples in Luke 24:44–47? According to 2 Corinthians 3:12–18, why can’t the Jews truly understand the Old Testament? How are Christians enabled to interpret the true meaning of the Old Testament?
  6. The speaking in tongues of Acts 2 was a unique, one-time gift of the Holy Spirit so that the Galilean apostles could be miraculously understood by people who spoke different languages. The goal in this case was intelligibility, not incomprehensibility, as is so often the case in churches that speak in tongues. Rather than focusing on speaking in tongues as a spiritual gift, we should contemplate the fruit of the Spirit that Paul describes in Galatians 5:22–26. What does he encourage in this passage?
  7. It seems to be an oxymoron, but we are truly born dead, as Ephesians 2:1 tells us, “You were dead in . . . trespasses and sins.” What does the Holy Spirit do to give us new life according to John 3:5–6 and Titus 3:4–6?

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