Acts 2:13-24 (NIV)
13 Some, however, made fun of them and said, “They have had too much wine.” 14 Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. 15 These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! 16 No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: 17 “ ‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. 18 Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. 19 I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. 20 The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. 21 And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ 22 “Fellow Israelites, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. 23 This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. 24 But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.
The Holy Spirit – a gift from God.
I wondered when I read this passage in Acts how Peter recognized this miraculous event as the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Did the words of John the Baptist come back to him as he looked around and saw the flames resting on the heads of his friends, as he heard the languages being spoken all around him? – “But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” Matthew 3 v 11. Or did Peter recall the acts of the Holy Spirit throughout the Old Testament usually accompanied by the sound of wind? I discovered that wind and spirit are the same word in Hebrew.
When do I mistake the work of the Spirit for something else? When do I miss the connection between miracles in my life and the Spirit at work?
Peter also makes the connection for those nearby between the Holy Spirit and Jesus. It is because of Jesus that this baptism is possible – Matthew 3 v 11. And Peter immediately walks into the purpose for which God gives us His Spirit, that is to give us the power to witness to him wherever we go (Acts 1 v 8). It’s just like it was for Jesus who, before he started his ministry, was baptised with the Holy Spirit, giving him power and authority to witness to God.
Just thinking about this now I am reminded this is such a special gift. This is the Holy Spirit who knows the thoughts of God (1 Cor 2 v 11), living in me. God planned all along for me to have his Spirit so that I can understand the freedom he has given me, and so I can share that with people who do not know it. What a precious gift.
Dear Lord, you always planned to send your Spirit to change me and equip me to be your witness. Thank you so much for the Spirit who testifies to me about you, who reminds me what you gave to bring me freedom. I pray for a revival and fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy today. Amen
Written by Claire Moore