Friday, November 9, 2007

Acts, Chapter 2

We now come to the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples in a dramatic show of God's power. While yesterday we saw the twelve do their best to hold things together after the physical departure of Christ, today we see what they were able to accomplish with the Holy Spirit. These had to be confusing times for these men. They had lost their leader. They had been commissioned with a monumental task, and they were still subject to persecution from their own people because of the way the Jews hated Christ and His followers.

"1When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them." – Acts 2:1-4

While I agree that the Holy Spirit is alive in all of us, I have never felt a violent wind from heaven or had a tongue of fire come to rest on me. This is quite a dramatic announcement for the coming of the Holy Spirit, but we must remember that this is the beginning of the church that would span centuries. In this very moment the commission that these men had been given became clear and they knew what they had to do. They were blessed with the power to carry the gospel to every nation and the ability to speak the language of the local people when they got there. Who else but God could bestow these gifts?

Perhaps the most dramatic change we see comes from Peter, whom was told by Christ in Matthew 16:18 that he would be the rock upon which Christ would build His church. Peter always was a leader who ran too far ahead during Christ's life on earth and often had to be disciplined. This discipline came from love though, as Christ knew the plans He had for Peter. Peter, of course, is also famous for denying Christ three times when he said he would stand strong before the crucifixion. Here we see him stepping forward and becoming that church leader he would be. There would still be some faults, as later we'll see his disagreement with Paul over the gospel, but it is in these moments that Peter truly begins to develop.

"38Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call." 40With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, "Save yourselves from this corrupt generation." 41Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day." – Acts 2:38-41

Can you imagine three thousand believers coming to the faith from one message, in one place, in one day? This just shows the phenomenal power of the Holy Spirit and how the early church just exploded from such a small core group. This is one of those glorious, joyous times in the early church before persecution and struggle would set in. We'll see in future chapters how the very people who attempted to kill Christ and put an end to His radical movement would become alarmed at the growth of the church. Those that killed Him thought His followers would disperse once He was gone, but now we see the church growing exponentially mere weeks after His death and resurrection. There were many more than these 3,000 too, as that was simply a one day experience. This chapter ends with the mention that many more were coming to the faith daily. Imagine what would happen in the world if there were that much of an awakening today!


  1. Though you may not have experienced tongues of fire, what was your experience when you first felt the Holy Spirit work in your life?
  2. Why was such a dramatic show of God's power necessary?
  3. How is God calling you to be a leader and spread His word?

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