Pentecost: Renewal (Restoration) of Israel

Texts: Acts 1:6-8; 2:16-21, 37-41

Days 56-58 in Around the Bible in Eighty Days.

The prophet Joel promised Israel, who at the time was suffering a great national tragedy, a time when God would restore its fortunes. They would never again be same and all who called on the name of the Lord would be saved (Joel 2:25-3:1).

Peter announced in Acts 2, “This is what was spoken through the prophet Joel” (Acts 2:16). Whatever was happening on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2 was a moment to which Joel pointed. It was the beginning of the restoration of Israel.

The question the disciples asked in Acts 1:6-8 about the time when God would restore Israel was not a bad question. They were, however, too anxious about the timing. Jesus told them to wait, and the Spirit would come. When the Spirit came, the restoration of Israel began.

Just as Joel foretold, God poured out the Spirit upon Israel through the newly enthroned Messiah. This pouring, however, was not limited to an individual or even to a specific group. Rather, it was poured out on “all flesh,” including Jew and Gentile, women and men, and enslaved and free. On that day, the Spirit testified to the reality of the kingdom secured at the right hand of God by the resurrected Jesus.

Just as God had gathered Israel at Mount Sinai, so now God gathered renewed Israel at Mount Zion. Through repentance and baptism, they became a newly gathered people who would continue the mission of Israel as a light to the nations. And they would inherit the promise God made to Abraham–experienced through the gift of the Spirit—to continue and purse that mission by scattering missional communities devoted to Jesus across the world.

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