Unit VIII The Resurrection of Jesus (2) THE CHANGE AT PENTECOST






in this lesson on the resurrection we are going to consider a change that took place in the apostles on the day of Pentecost that natural processes are totally inadequate to answer to the cause for that change. Then due to the nature of the case we are going to see that it is reasonable to conclude that this change was produced by the Holy Spirit Himself. That in turn is going to reflect the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.

THE CLAIM of the New Testament is that on the day of Pentecost a change was wrought within the apostles which was the result of the direct intervention of the Holy Spirit.

THE PROPOSITION is that this change was accomplished by the Holy Spirit and is an evidence of the resurrection of Jesus.

Now remember that our evidence comes from historically reliable documents, the New Testament. And it offers to us the facts from history. Now, in developing this argument for the resurrection called “the change at Pentecost,” there are five facts to be developed.


LESSON AIM: to understand that the drastic change in the disciples on the day of Pentecost offers important evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ.



  1. learn of five facts concerning the apostles change at Pentecost which will provide evidence that Jesus was raised from the dead.
  2. Discover that there was a drastic change in these same men and the reason for this change.
  3. Be able to reason from this evidence that Jesus Christ was indeed raised from the dead as was promised.


There are five facts to be considered in the systematic development of this evidence.

Fact Number One: The Coming of The Holy Spirit As Promised by Jesus.
Jesus promised that the apostles would receive the Holy Spirit and that He would endow them with a knowledge of the gospel they did not have, John 14:26; 16:12 -13.

  1. The Holy Spirit was to super-impose upon the apostles a remembrance of the things that Jesus had said to them during His ministry.
  2. The Holy Spirit would teach them all gospel things that they had not known up to that time.
  3. The Holy Spirit would declare to the apostles things that were going to come in the future

Fact Number Two: the Coming of the Holy Spirit Was Conditional
Jesus imposed upon Himself the condition of returning to the Father before the Spirit would be permitted (or enabled) to come to the apostles, John 16:5, 7, 10.

Fact Number three: Jesus Died At Calvary

  • His death was carefully documented by eyewitnesses, Matthew 27:50; John 19:30
  • Any suggestion that Jesus survived the ordeal of crucifixion to live out His life in another place is totally without historical basis and in flagrant contradiction of the only historical documents recording His life and death.
    • The gospel writers were convinced He died.
    • The whole church of Christ in the first century was convinced He died.
    • Pilate was convinced He died.
    • The centurion was convinced He died.
    • Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus were persuaded He was dead.
The facts thus far have brought Jesus to His death. Keep in mind that Jesus promised to return to Heaven before He could send the Spirit, but that He died before returning to His Father (John 20:17).Therefor, to ascend to the Father and dispatch the Holy Spirit He would have to have been raised from the dead. It is thus essential to prove that the Holy Spirit came to the apostles in order to prove that Jesus was raised. We have only to prove that the Spirit came to the apostles and the resurrection claim shall be sustained.
  1. Fact Number Four: The Jewish (Apostles/) Concept of Messiah and His Kingdom Before Pentecost.
  2. The apostles condition theologically – militant nationalists.
    1. The Kingdom of God was a nationalistic thing confined to the Jews.
    2. Mark 10:35 – 38 – They sought a position of authority in the kingdom of God.
    3. Matthew 16: 13 – 20 – Told not to tell anyone who He was. They didn’t understand the nature of the Kingdom
    4. See also John 18:36; Matthew 16:21f.
  1. The apostles condition theologically – they were nationalistic.
     They did not understand the nature of the Kingdom of God.
  2. The apostles condition intellectually – dull of perception.
     They didn't have the keenness of insight that Jesus even expected them to have from time to time. (See Matthew 16: 5 -12)
  3. The apostles condition positional – state of tension.
    1. Mark 10:41 – there was division among them.
    2. Luke 22:44 – they were vying with one another as to who is the greatest in god's kingdom.
  4. The apostles' condition psychologically – they are all fearful
     After the crucifixion these men for fear of the Jews were hiding themselves behind locked doors, John 20:19.



And so here’s the condition, the state of the apostles prior to the day of Pentecost. They were theologically militant nationalists interpreting Old Testament prophecies as a zealot would. They were ready to take their spears and their bows and their arrows and follow this Nazarene and throw off the roman yoke from their neck. Intellectually they were dull in perception. Positional, they were divided and psychologically these men simply were fearful. Now that is the condition as it existed.

Fact Number five: the Apostles’ Concept Changed On Pentecost
The extremity of the change.

  1. They changed in Theology.
    1. These men immediately began to preach Christ crucified, buried, and resurrected.
    2. They began to preach the church of Christ is the answer to the Old Testament prophesies regarding the kingdom.
  2. They changed in doctrine. Now they are not only united in rother hood, but they are united in doctrine.
  3. They changed psychologically and emotionallly. No longer fearful but bold and courageous.
  4. Their disunity and divisiveness changed to complete unity of thought and purpose
  5. they changed from men of weakness to men of power. (Acts 4:13)


Here was a change of such proportions that the mind is staggered to think of it happening. As it were, in a moment of time. Yet it happened. It is one of the facts of history. The apostles were drastically changed on the day of Pentecost.




Was the cause natural or supernatural?

  1. The Bible Claims It Was The Holy Spirit, Acts 2:1ff
  2. Paul Claims it Was The Holy Spirit, I Cor 2 and Ephesians 3
  3. Peter Claims It was The Holy Spirit, I Peter 1 and II Peter 1



now if that change was produced by the holy spirit, then Jesus had to have been resurrected from the dead. Inasmuch as Jesus said that in order for the Spirit to come, it would be conditional upon His ascending back to the Father or the Spirit could not come. But Jesus was dead. Now, then, how was he able to go back to the Father and send the Spirit unless He was resurrected from the grave? The change at Pentecost is because of the resurrection of Christ, His ascension back to Heaven, and His sending the Holy Spirit.



This is a fact of history which must be explained. The question is, what forces combined to produce this phenomenon? Luke claimed it was the Holy Spirit (Acts 2: 1 -4 ). so did the apostles (1 Cor. 2:10 – 13; Ephesians 3: 3- 5; 2 Peter 1:3 – 4). But inasmuch as the Holy Spirit could not come until Jesus had ascended back to the Father, and since Jesus died. It follows that for the Spirit to have come Jesus had to have been raised from the dead.

The only alternative explanation to the change in the apostles is that it was affected by natural processes. But such a radical change as this would demand both time and education. These are the essential ingredients required to produce a thorough-going change in both concept and life-style as it did in these convicted, persecuted-unto -death, apostles. But the fact is that the time required to produce this change was simply not available. And who was their teacher? Who would have been able to unify the apostles in both doctrine and martyr-life? Echo answers, Who?

There is only one reasonable answer to the apostles ‘ change