Day of Pentecost – A LSB #856
Text – Acts 2:13
But others mocking said, “They are filled with new wine.”
FILLED WITH NEW WINE
The Gospel of Mark says, “One time Jesus entered a house, & the crowds began to gather again. Soon He & His disciples couldn’t even find time to eat. When His family heard what was happening, they tried to take Him away. ‘He’s out of His mind,’ they said.” (3:20-21 NLT)
The family of Jesus thought He had lost His mind. Have you lost yours? That’s what the unbelievers were saying about the children of God on the feast of Pentecost: “They are filled with new wine!” That’s how the works of God look to unbelievers, but we have to confess that there are many times we think the same. 1 Corinthians 1 says to us,
“For the foolishness of God is wiser than men… But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise.” (V. 25 & 27 ESV) All of us are familiar with that red-faced feeling when shame has washed over us. At the cross, Jesus took that upon Himself as He hung there, naked, for the mockers & all those who would scorn Him from their petty little hearts.
Maybe it was recognition of your own pettiness that brought you that feeling of shame. The Son of God suffered & died a brutal death on the cross & we nitpick over the failures & faults of those we love & of those we don’t. There’s plenty of failure to point out too, across our nation right now, as the rioting goes on, along with the unjust killing of a helpless man.
Failure is everywhere & there is only one true solution to it, but sinful beings just love to point out failure & who’s to blame. That is anything but the solution. The devil is not on the side of the police & he’s not on the side of innocent civilians. The devil is not on the side of white people, nor is he on the side of black people. Satan is not on the side of the Democrats & he is not on the side of Republicans. He comes only to steal, to kill & to destroy. What have we seen way too much of in the news this past week? Stealing, killing & destruction has been all over the news. Doesn’t that tell you something about where Lucifer is working? The only side the devil is on is his own. He is the ultimate selfish & self-centered creature. He provokes the worst in each & every human being regardless of skin color or political affiliation.
Satan is the enemy that we should be united against, because all of God’s creation matters. The devil is not just trying to destroy certain groups of people. He’s working to destroy everything that our heavenly Father created. Screaming & yelling profanities at other human beings, no matter how righteous the screamers think they are, is simply doing Satan’s work.
Revenge, taken out on other human beings, does not pay for a single crime, not even for the killing of a helpless human being. All of us need our Lord’s death on the cross to pay for our sins. Only the Son of God Himself dying on Mt. Calvary can pay for the death of George Floyd. Whether he was a believer or an unbeliever, George was still God’s child, God’s creation.
And while the officers involved should be tried & brought to justice, that will not bring George’s life back. Only believing in Jesus can do that. If George did, then his soul is already in heaven, alive & with his Creator. If you tried preaching that to the rioters right now, in the best case scenario they’d probably assume you are drunk – maybe even filled with new wine.
And still, even the rioters are not whom we should be united against. All those involved should be tried & brought to justice, but it will not restore businesses that were destroyed or the jobs that were lost with them. As St. Paul wrote in Ephesians 6:
“…we do not wrestle against flesh & blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (6:12 ESV) Seeing the horror of a helpless man being killed, live on video, how do we wrestle against the rulers, authorities, cosmic powers & spiritual forces of evil? Well, the answer is laughable. It’s the kind of suggestion that makes you think someone must be filled with new wine. They have to be drunk & out of their mind. “…it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Acts 2:21 ESV) In light of all that’s transpired in the past week that seems pretty weak, doesn’t it?
Understandably, for the death of a helpless man, some of the protesters want blood. And God, knowing better, instead of giving them the worthless blood of a sinful human being, gives them the innocent blood of His holy Son who was without sin. The blood of Jesus does actually pay for all the racist sins & all the injustices, of any kind, the world has ever seen.
That is not easy to accept or to believe. That’s why no unbeliever ever prays for Jesus to come into his heart. God must take the initiative & 1st come to us. Once Yahweh has created faith within, then & only then, is a sinful human being able to ask Jesus to draw near. As the reading from Acts 2 draws to a close, God had been busy creating faith, & it says,
“So those who received his word were baptized, & there were added that day about three thousand souls.” (Acts 2:41 ESV) Pentecost celebrated the 1st harvest & if that was a good one, it promised an even greater harvest in the fall. As we remember & celebrate the miracle which occurred at Pentecost we need to understand the symbolism God is using.
Yahweh is restoring the unity of all people that were once scattered across the globe after the debacle at the Tower of Babel. As we hear the names of the many nations, realize that Pentecost is a foretaste of the true end to all racism:
“Parthians & Medes, Elamites & residents of Mesopotamia, Judea & Cappadocia, Pontus & Asia, Phrygia & Pamphylia, Egypt & the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews & converts to Judaism, Cretans & Arabians…” (Acts 2:9-11)
The arc from Parthia through Mesopotamia is the “Old (Testament) World;” the rest of the list (through verse 10) describes the “Mediterranean basin,” the “New (Testament) World” with Rome as its outermost part. “Jews and proselytes,” i.e., lifelong believers and converts, are religious not ethnic or national categories. Are “Cretans and Arabians” simply place/people names, or might they constitute a merism of seafarers and nomads? In any event, the “whole world” has converged in Jerusalem, and is hearing “the mighty works of God” (2:11, ESV).
Pentecost is the reversal of the Babel exiling. It reverses the scattering and gathers in the Temple. At the heart of Pentecost, the coming of the Holy Spirit launches the new Temple of the Lord, His holy Church.
Sermon hymn about the calling of the 12 to new things.
It’s sort of what you hear in the media today, Christians living out their faith must be filled with new wine. They’re drunk! They’re crazy! They’re fools. Peter goes along with the gibe of drunkenness, but quickly corrects the misunderstanding. He quotes Joel 2:28–32, though not verbatim. Of significance is that the apostle eschatologizes the prophetic utterance. God announces, in Joel, that he will pour out his Spirit “after this”, after he restores the “grain & wine & oil” (Jl 2:19) that locust & drought had destroyed; there is no explicit eschatological value. However, under the influence of the poured-out Spirit, Peter perceives the promise in salvation-historical perspective. “The kingdom of God,” “the day of the LORD,” “the last days,” are now but also, still, not yet. It is gospel that God pours out, has poured out, his Spirit on all flesh, because this too signifies that God has come to his people—the people he made for himself in creation. We who believe in Jesus – the Spirit has called & gathered, is enlightening & sanctifying, and will keep.
Peter preached & through the Spirit life came to be! And unbelievers, those without the Spirit, ridiculed it, “These people are filled with new wine.”
To be forgiven before God through Baptism into Christ and to be for the poor who need us is not our human project but the generous work of the Holy Spirit in the world.
The coming of the Holy Spirit is the last great act of God before the last & final day of the world.
1 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.
Marshall: Pentecost is the NT name for the Feast of Weeks, when the wheat harvest was celebrated by a one-day festival during which special sacrifices were offered (Exodus 23:16; Leviticus 23:15-21; Deut. 16:9-12).
On this special Pentecost the Lord was preparing a great harvest of souls for his people.
2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated & came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. 5 Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven.
Bruce: Verses 5-8: From the far-flung lands where the Jews of the dispersion lived, great numbers had come to Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Weeks.
6 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. 7 Utterly amazed, they asked: "Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans? 8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language? 9 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 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs--we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!"
This catalogue is symbolic of the universal preaching of the Gospel which was to come.
Acts 2:12 Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, "What does this mean?"
The real miracle was the giving of the Holy Spirit. These people saw the result of this giving.
Acts 2:13 Some, however, made fun of them and said, "They have had too much wine."
Bengel: Mocking begins with ridicule, then it proceeds to questioning, 4:7, then to threats 4:17, then to imprisonment, 5:18, then to stripes, 5:40, and then to murder, 7:58.
14 Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice & addressed the crowd: "Fellow Jews & all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. 15 These men are not drunk, as you suppose. It's only nine in the morning! 16 No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:
"No" means "quite to the contrary." What greater contrast could there be than drunkenness and the fulfillment of a prophecy? It reminds one of Isaiah 5:20: "Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil." (NASB) Jesus' enemies often called good evil. They said He cast out demons with Satan's power. They implied sinful motives when He ate with publicans and sinners.
17 'In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons & daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.
This prophecy is found at Joel 2:28-32.
Bengel: All the days of the NT are last days; and these last days are now far advanced.
Luther: Thus now, as concerning this passage of the prophet, prophesying, visions, dreams are all one thing, namely the knowledge of God through Christ, which the Holy Spirit kindles and makes to burn through the Word of the Gospel. This causes believers to teach the Word, undertake great things for Jesus and to have the Gospel as the center of all they do, think or say.
18 Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. 19 I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. 20 The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.
"Signs" are the clear warnings of God which dare not be disregarded. "In the heaven above" & "on earth below" denote the fact that no part of God's creation is exempt from these wonders & signs. We cannot escape them by moving to a different climate, to an island or to a culture which is simpler than ours. The same phenomenon is mentioned at Matthew 24:29. No one really knows what it is like to have the sun turned into darkness and moon into blood. Eclipses are, of course, a taste of this. The believer will know when it happens. Our text calls it "great and glorious."
Acts 2:21 And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.'"
The salvation of the believer is just as certain as is the pouring out of the Holy Spirit, which has gone on for nearly 2,000 years. Once God speaks, He will not take the word back. To call on the name of the Lord is the OT way of saying "believing in the Lord Jesus."
In this prophecy of Joel the day of Pentecost and the Day of the Lord, the last day, are viewed together. There is an interval, of course, between the two. But, as Stoeckhardt says, the out-pouring of the Holy Ghost is the final great act of God before the Great Day of the Lord.
Acts 2:9-21 Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt & the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, 11both Jews & proselytes, Cretans & Arabians – we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.” 12And all were amazed & perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13But others mocking said, “They are filled with new wine.”
14But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice & addressed them, “Men of Judea & all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, & give ear to my words. 15For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. 16But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel:
17‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh,
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
and your young men shall see visions,
and your old men shall dream dreams;
18even on my male servants and female servants
in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.
19And I will show wonders in the heavens above
and signs on the earth below,
blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke;
20the sun shall be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood,
before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day.
21And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’”
John 7:37-39 On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. 38Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” (instead of death & rioting & destruction)
O Christ, who led the Twelve among the desolate & broke as bread of life for all Your love compassionate: Lead us along the ways where hope has nearly died & help us climb the lonely hills where love is crucified. O Christ, who sent the Twelve on roads they’d never trod to serve, to suffer, teach, proclaim the nearer reign of God: Send us on ways where faith transcends timidity, where love informs & hope sustains both life & ministry. O Christ, the apostles’ Lord, the martyrs’ strength & song, the crucified & risen King to whom the saints belong: Though generations pass, our tribute still we bring, our hymns a sacrifice of praise, our lives an offering. Amen. LSB 856:3-5.
Pastor Dean R. Poellet