The Holy Spirit Is With Us at Pentecost | Farm and Rural Family Life
Background Text: Joel 2:28
Devotional Text: Acts 2:16-21
Last week, we began a discussion of the Holy Spirit in the lives of certain people found in the Old Testament. This week, we will look at the days of Pentecost found in the New Testament.
Last week, our devotional text was found in Joel 2:28, in which these words of God were given to the people by the prophet Joel: “And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.”
Continuing with Verse 29, the prophet added, “Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days.”
Next, turning to John 14:26, 15:26 and 16:12-13a, we find Jesus had spoken to his disciples about the coming of the Holy Spirit and what that would mean for them. The Holy Spirit would remind them of the teachings of Jesus, would be a comfort and counsel to them, and would lead them in the way of the Lord.
In John 14:15-17, Jesus told the disciples that the Holy Spirit would be with them forever. He continued by saying that the world would not believe in the Holy Spirit because they “neither see him nor know him.” However, believers will know him, for “he lives with you and will be in you.”
Now, let’s go to the day of the first Christian Pentecost. Prior to Act 2, we found out that the believers in Christ, numbering about 120, would meet regularly (Acts 1:15), and in Acts 2 we find the dramatic coming of the Holy Spirit upon the believers.
“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” (Acts 2:1-4).
Meanwhile, the many thousands of visitors who had come to Jerusalem for the Jewish Feast of Weeks, also known as Pentecost, heard the disciples speaking in their own languages about “the wonders of God,” (Acts 2:11).
It was then that Peter, standing up with the other 11 apostles, raised his voice and addressed the crowd. His words in Acts 2:17-21 echoed the very words found in the writings of Joel, seen previously in the beginning of this column.
Then Peter went on to speak to the crowd about Jesus Christ, opening up words of Old Testament scripture to them. Along with the scripture from Joel were words from King David as found in both Psalm 16:8-11 and Acts 2:25-28; as well as Psalm 110:1 found in Acts 2:34-35.
As Peter continued his message to the people, he urged them to repent of their sins and be baptized. They would be forgiven of their sins by the name of Jesus Christ, and they would receive “the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).
We know from Acts 2:41 that about 3,000 new believers were added on that day.
What a powerful and wonderful way to increase the number of believers in Christ. But was that the end of the Holy Spirit’s power? Was it now over with, was the Holy Spirit gone?
Not according to the word of God found throughout our Bibles.
Pentecost was the day of great beginnings for all believers. However, have we already forgotten the words found in John’s gospel that tell us all believers would receive the Holy Spirit and not just for a time, but forever?
Let’s continue in the book of Acts following the day of Pentecost and see what we can find concerning the Holy Spirit.
In Acts 4:1-22, Peter and John were taken by the priests, the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees while they were preaching Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. “The rulers and teachers of the law were amazed by their boldness and knowledge in speech, especially because they had been unschooled, ordinary men.”
After they were released and returned to the other believers, they spoke about what happened to them and in Acts 4:23-31, and they prayed. Acts 4:31 tells us, “After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.”
Acts 8:14-17 finds Peter and John in Samaria, speaking to the believers there who had been baptized in the name of Jesus. Finding that the Holy Spirit had not come upon them, “Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.”
While Peter was in Joppa, he received word from a centurion named Cornelius who lived in Caesarea. Cornelius was a Gentile and a devout man of God. Going to Caesarea, Peter was accompanied by some of the believers from Joppa. At the home of Cornelius, there were also relatives and close friends there to meet Peter.
As Peter spoke the word of God, and the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, we find in Acts 10:44-45 these words, “While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles.”
There are more examples in Acts and I hope everyone is getting the idea from these scriptures that the receiving of the Holy Spirit into our lives was not just a one-time event at Pentecost, but was enacted over and over again as the disciples traveled and spread the good news of salvation.
Next week, we will look at more information about the Holy Spirit in our lives today as found in the New Testament.