828 King's Highway, Suffolk VA 23432

757 255-4168 stjohns1755@verizon.net Worship Service: Sundays at 10:30am
Welcome to St. John's community. We are honored to serve Christ, and to open our doors to all. Please feel free to join us for worship. St. John's can trace its history to the founding of Jamestown. The parish is over 350 years old, and the church building itself has stood for 2 and a half centuries. St. John's saw the American Revolution and served as a camp ground for troops during the Civil War. Through it all, St. John's has been a place of worship and a home for those seeking communion with Christ. St. John's has a rich and abiding history. Today, it is as it was... a place to find and be found by Christ.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Christian Formation for May 19 - Acts 2:1-21; The Coming of the Holy Spirit and Peter Addresses the Crowd

Acts 2:1-21
The Coming of the Holy Spirit
Peter Addresses the Crowd
Background: The Acts of the Apostles is a unique book in the New Testament. This book is the companion to the Gospel of Luke and provides much of the history of the early church. The opening portion of Acts details Christ’s ascension and the coming of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles. It also sets the stage for the commissioning and spread of the universal message of Christ.
Theme: The Disciples have observed Jesus’ ascension and the restoration of the Disciples to 12 members. The mystical nature of Christ’s resurrection and ascension is continued in the recounting of the coming of the Holy Spirit on all believers as demonstrated by the descending of tongues of fire on the Disciple’s heads and all people from the ends of the earth hearing the Disciples speak in their own language.
Questions to Ponder:
* Please read Acts 2:1-21. Briefly describe the setting for this passage. Be familiar with the prophet Joel and his message to the Israelites. Skim 1 Kings 19 for comparison with today’s passage.
* What is the day of Pentecost in the Jewish tradition? Why might the Disciples and all believers be gathered in Jerusalem at the Pentecost?
* A theophany is a revelation of God to humans. How is today’s theophany like or unlike other revelations in preceding books in the Old and New Testament? How has God appeared in a “violent wind” in the past? In what other ways has God revealed his presence to humanity in the past?
* How does the image in Acts compare or contrast with Elijah’s revelation in 1 Kings 19? Why might there be two, or more, different images to describe God and God’s presence in humanity?
* Why do you think the Disciples were speaking in other languages when the Holy Spirit came to them?
* In verses 9-11 a number of countries are listed. What do you think the significance is surrounding those nations? What do you think the message is that “Luke” is trying to tell by enumerating those nations in the text?
* Why might the devout Jews ridicule the Disciples in verse 13 stating the Disciples “are filled with new wine.”? Why do you think they felt compelled to put the Disciples down in this manner (essentially calling them drunkards or alcoholics)?
* How believable do you think it was for Peter to assert that the Disciples were not drunk (simply) because “it was only nine o’clock in the morning.”?
* Who do you think Joel was and why do you think Peter quoted his prophesy to justify the Disciples’ speaking in tongues?
* What do you think is the significance of the gifts listed in addition to the gift of tongues?
* How do you think we speak in tongues today?
* What is the charge that comes out of Joel’s prophesy quoted in verse 21?
* How does this verse challenge our life as witnesses to Christ in 21st century Suffolk and the world?

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