Imagine yourself sitting in a room with 120 of the first disciples of Jesus. You have been through an emotional roller coaster the last two months, from a triumphant entry into Jerusalem of the Messiah, to his ignominious torture and death, to his resurrection. And you all saw him alive; some of you even saw him ascend into heaven. You are expectant, but you really have no idea what is coming. It is Pentecost, the fiftieth day after Christ’s resurrection. You have all come together to observe the feast of Pentecost as you have all your lives.
Suddenly, with no warning, the room is filled with a great roaring sound, something very much like fire shimmers across the ceiling of the room, and a little stream of that fire descends upon each of you sitting in the room. Each of you finds yourself with the ability to speak in a language you have never spoken before and bursting with a message about the wonderful works of God.
It would be an unforgettable experience, wouldn’t it. Energizing, empowering. But the experience is not what this was about. The experience only lasted for a while and faded. And the disciples were left to ponder what the experience was all about and what it meant. It was clear enough right from the start that what was important was not so much the experience, but the meaning. What the disciples were coming to understand was that the Temple was a stage upon which a drama was played out. And that drama was the story of Christ.