Before I start, let me tell you I am not glorifying drunkenness from alcohol.
Years ago my parents, minister and church friends called me from the Holy Land when they were on the road to Emmaus as mentioned in Luke 24:13-34. Due to the time zone difference, they called at 2:30 a.m., my time, and scared me! They were all yelling and so excited, that they sounded drunk. I knew they were not drunk! They were excited. An excitement on steroids! Being high on the Holy Spirit or “drunk in the Spirit” means, to me, feeling God's power in action. Here is where, I think, drunk in the spirit comes from.
Jesus had spent forty days after his resurrection with his disciples. He spent time talking and praying with his closest friends. I cannot imagine how the disciples felt watching Jesus ascend to heaven. Jesus knew He was the risen Savior! When He ascended to the Father He received all dominion, power and authority. Acts 1:11, "'Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.'" They must have mourned Him again. Jesus promised them in Acts 1:5, "For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
Acts 2:1-13, "When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. Now they were staying in Jerusalem. God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. Utterly amazed, they asked: ‘Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!’ Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, ‘What does this mean?’ Some, however, made fun of them and said, ‘They have had too much wine.’”
Can you imagine being there on the day of Pentecost? The Holy Spirit is literally poured out all over the believers! They were all "filled with the Holy Spirit" and began speaking in tongues. Crowds gathered around just like we would picture today! While the crowd mocked them they were also amazed. I cannot imagine people hearing the same language, each in their own native language. Yeah, I would be amazed! They did not understand and asked each other what this meant. Some were making fun and said, "They have had too much wine."
What other explanation could the non-believers come up with to explain what they were witnessing? While we know them speaking in other native languages is supernatural, they saw a chaotic scene that made them think they were drunk.
We have so many reasons to celebrate Pentecost. Pentecost fulfills Jesus’ promise to never forsake us. As painful as it must have been to watch the ascension, Jesus assured the disciples that it would be to their advantage for him to leave so the helper would come. John 16:7, “But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.” He went on to explain in verses 13-14, “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you.” Jesus’ work did not end with the ascension. He continues His work through His Spirit-filled churches.
The outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost shows us that the great harvest had begun. The 3000 souls added to the church on Pentecost came from all corners of the Roman world. They would carry the gospel to their families and communities. The disciples would carry the gospel from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth. Acts 1:8, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
As we celebrate Pentecost, let us remember Jesus’ words, “Behold, I will be with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20