Use one or both of these questions to introduce the lesson:
1. Who is your favorite superhero? Every superhero has an origin story—the tale of how that hero gained special powers. How do origin stories help explain everything that follows in the life of a hero?
2. What is your origin story? Tell about events that continue to shape who you are today.
Read Acts 2:1-11.
1. Pentecost is called the “Feast of Weeks” in the Old Testament and was celebrated 50 days after Passover. Passover commemorated the Israelites’ exodus from slavery in Egypt. Although it is not mentioned in the Old Testament, Jews celebrated Pentecost to remember an event that happened at the beginning of the third month (about 50 days) after the exodus. See Exodus 19. How does this event mark the origin of Israel?
2. During what other specific events in Scripture did fire behave in unusual ways? See Exodus 3:2; 13:21; 19:18; 2 Chronicles 7:1-3. What do you think were some of the messages being communicated when this unusual fire rested on the apostles at Pentecost?
3. Greek was the language commonly spoken throughout the Roman Empire at the time. Why might have God chosen to speak miraculously in the native “heart” languages of those gathered rather than the learned language of Greek?
Read Acts 2:22-24.
4. Read verses 22 and 23 aloud, raising your voice to shout the word you each time it appears. Because the two pilgrimage festivals (those requiring a person to travel to the temple in Jerusalem) of Passover and Pentecost occurred about two months apart, Jews living far from Jerusalem would often stay in Jerusalem for both festivals. Why does that help explain Peter’s repeated and pointed use of you here?
5. Peter said that the identity of Jesus was “accredited” (NIV)—demonstrated with evidence—by miracles that were witnessed by many at one time. See also John 10:25, 27, 38; 14:11. What is the difference between faith in Jesus and “blind” faith?
Read Acts 2:37-42.
6. Try to paraphrase Romans 8:1-3. The Jewish festival of Pentecost celebrated the beginning of Israel being ruled by the law of Moses. Note what happened in Exodus 32, almost immediately following the giving of the law. Compare the numbers found in Exodus 32:28 and Acts 2:41. Why is this significant considering Paul’s words?
7. As in all origin stories, the event that started the church helps explain everything that follows (Acts 2:42). Note the four elements of Christian worship in that verse. Which of those four do you need to strengthen, understanding the power behind the church?