When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. (Acts 2:1)

Jesus told the disciples to stay in Jerusalem and wait for the promised outpouring of the Holy Spirit. The disciples did just what Jesus said, and they gathered in an upper room for prayer and seeking God day after day, waiting for God’s promise to be fulfilled.

Jesus never told them how long they would have to wait. What did the disciples think? If I were in their place, I might think, “On the third day, God will send the promised outpouring of the Holy Spirit.” After all, the resurrection of Jesus was three days after His crucifixion. But it wasn’t the third day.

Pentecost - Two Loaves

Then I might think, “Surely it will be the seventh day. Seven is God’s number of completion and fulfillment.” But it wasn’t the third day. Nor was it the eighth day, even though some people connect the number 8 in the Bible with new beginnings.

They waited until the Day of Pentecost had fully come, but they didn’t know ahead of time how long they would have to wait. It would be easy for them to think it would come the same afternoon Jesus ascended to heaven; or after 3 days, or 7 days. But they had to wait a full 10 days, until the Day of Pentecost had fully come.

Pentecost was a Jewish feast held 50 days after Passover. It celebrated the firstfruits of the wheat harvest. It was also called the feast of weeks (Exodus 34:22) and the feast of ingathering (Exodus 23:16).

Leviticus 23:15-22 gives the original instructions for the celebration of Pentecost. As part of the public priestly sacrifices made for this feast, Leviticus 23:17 specifically says that two loaves of leavened bread were to be waved before the Lord.

This was highly unusual. Generally, Israel could not offer any kind of leaven or yeast with a blood offering (Exodus 23:18, 34:25). But God encoded a hidden message into the ceremony for the feast of Pentecost. It was as if God said, “One day to come, on Pentecost, that which was thought to be unclean and unacceptable will be brought before Me, and I will honor that.”

For centuries before the Pentecost described in Acts 2:1, Israel saw the leavened loaves waved before God in the ceremony commanded for this feast. Maybe they wondered what it meant. But we know; as the great English preacher Charles Spurgeon said, “Were there not two loaves? Not only shall Israel be saved, but the multitude of the Gentiles shall be turned unto the Lord Jesus Christ.”

The disciples had to wait, probably longer than they expected to wait. But you never wait too long for something this good – God bringing Jew and Gentile together into one new family, called “the church.”

Does God have you waiting longer than you would like to wait? Keep trusting Him; you may be surprised at how good the fulfillment of God’s promise is.

Click here for David’s commentary on Acts 2