2: Pentecost – Discussion Starters

  1. Pentecost. Let’s start with a puzzle. How is the word, “Pentecost,” related to the number, 50, and the term, “Feast of Weeks”? How did the observance of Pentecost change from a Jewish festival to an exuberant celebration of the Christian church? What thrilling event took place on the first observation of Pentecost by Christians? Do we celebrate Pentecost today? If so, how? If not, why not?
  2. Coming of the Spirit. What was the effect on the people present of a horrendous blow of wind combined with the landing of apparent flames on the people? What did this outstanding demonstration predict? Was it effective? How was this display of divine power different from manifestations of God’s presence in Old Testament times? Was this the only time–or the only way–that God’s Spirit would be made known to His people?
  3. The gift of tongues. What is “the gift of tongues”? What was its fundamental purpose at that time? Have you ever struggled to learn a new language? How long did it take for the new converts at Pentecost to master the Aramaic language? Was the gift of tongues definite proof that God’s Spirit was present? To those who did not accept the sudden mastery of the Aramaic language as a divine gift, what was their explanation? Is the gift of tongues bestowed on God’s people today? Explain.
  4. Peter’s sermon. How did Peter respond to accusations that God’s speakers were drunk? What did the Old Testament prophet Joel contribute to Peter’s sermon? How did Peter build on Joel’s choice of the word, “afterward,” with a fuller meaning? To Peter, what was the significance of the resurrection at this time? What does the resurrection mean to you? How can you and I help make this event a central belief of all Christians today?
  5. The exaltation of Jesus. What is the significance of the “right hand of God” at the time when the Spirit of God was being poured out upon early believers? What about today? What role did the authentication of Christ’s sacrifice have on the pouring out of the Holy Spirit on God’s people? Do you think that even as modern-day Christians we are ever tempted to dilute the power and authority of Jesus with our own thoughts and opinions? 
  6. The firstfruits. Try to imagine being an early convert to Christianity and remembering calling loudly for the crucifixion of Jesus just a few days earlier. “What shall we do?” these early Christians cried out. What is the answer? How can we be forgiven for our former foolishness in ignoring or even opposing the indwelling of Jesus in our hearts? How does God respond to our anguish?    
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Source: Daily Sabbath School Lessons