Day 23 - The Holy Spirit Comes, A Consuming Fire
Reading - Acts 2:1-47
Jesus’ ascended into the Heavens 40 days after his resurrection. Acts 2 starts out telling us it was the day of Pentecost. Pentecost was held 50 days after the Passover and Jews from all over would come. It was a festival to celebrate the first fruits and give back to God the first fruits of the harvest. In the Old Testament they also recognized this as the day the Law was given. I doubt it was by coincidence that God sent the Holy Spirit to be received by his followers on a Festival that was known for his followers to receive that Law. God also amazes me at his perfect timing as Jews came from all over thus Peter essentially preaching to an international audience creating a worldwide spread of new believers.
But back to his disciples waiting. They’ve been waiting 10 days for Jesus. For the Helper. I imagine there was much anticipation. They had no idea when the Helper would come but they waited together. Then all of a sudden their Advocate appears. And in a physical presence. It came in full force, full of power and might and filled the room with His presence. And it didn’t just fill the room, the Holy Spirit rested on each individual in the presence of a flaming fire. No longer would the Holy Spirit come down to rest on the Nation of Israel as a whole. He would come down and rest upon each believer, each individual follower. As the New Covenant promises. He would now consumer our hearts and minds.
The Holy Spirit resting on each follower is also significant. God often represented himself in the form of fire throughout the Old Testament. Fire also represents purification. As they used fire to purify gold. This fire signifies not only God’s mighty power in us but the purification of God in us. The Holy Spirit was sent to help transform our being, to purify us to be more like Christ.
Then Peter, the same Peter who denied Christ, but now a Peter filled with the power of the Holy Spirit boldly stands up and speaks to the crowds! His message is outstanding.
- He refutes claims being made with scripture from their Old Testament that Joel 2:28-32 predicted the Spirit would pour out on his people. Acts 2:17-21
- tells of God’s prearranged plan for the death of Jesus (acts 2:23)
- tells us that Jesus was brought back to life. That death could not keep its grips on Jesus
- goes back to the Old Testament again showing how prophesy was fulfilled in Jesus’ resurrection (acts 2:27-38)
- shares the glorious news that Jesus now sits at the place of honor next to our Heavenly Father (acts 2:33)
- shares another prophesy fulfilled (acts 2:34-35)
- then convicts them of their sin in crucifying our Lord (Acts 2:36)
- but gives them a hope of salvation through repentance and forgiveness of sin (acts 2:38)
- and finally an action step to receive the Spirit through baptism
Peter’s message for us is the same message we can proclaim to others. It’s the only message we need to proclaim. The Gospel. The Gospel in itself has great power to convict people to turn toward Christ. It’s in this message they see sacrifice, love and hope. A message that this world cannot give. It’s this message that we need to know and proclaim as we are Christ’s messengers. Peter brought 3,000 believers to Christ that single day. We too can bring people to know Jesus by simply telling people about the grace and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ.
May we allow the work of the Holy Spirit to set us on fire. May we be bold like Peter