The Spirit Explodes
Part 2 of 22 - The Gift of the Holy Spirit
by Roger Kirby
Acts 1:14 – 2:13
They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.
In those days Peter stood up among the believers (a group numbering about a hundred and twenty) and said, ‘Brothers and sisters, the Scripture had to be fulfilled in which the Holy Spirit spoke long ago through David concerning Judas, who served as guide for those who arrested Jesus. He was one of our number and shared in our ministry.’
(With the payment he received for his wickedness, Judas bought a field; there he fell headlong, his body burst open and all his intestines spilled out. Everyone in Jerusalem heard about this, so they called that field in their language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.)
‘For,’ said Peter, ‘it is written in the Book of Psalms:
‘“May his place be deserted; let there be no one to dwell in it,”
and, ‘“May another take his place of leadership.”
Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus was living among us, beginning from John’s baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us. For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection.’
So they nominated two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias. Then they prayed, ‘Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen to take over this apostolic ministry, which Judas left to go where he belongs.’ Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles.
Acts 2 - The Holy Spirit comes at Pentecost
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 there 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.’
Almost exactly 50 days after their great redemption from Egypt the ancient people of God met him at Sinai. In New Testament times the people of Israel celebrated that day in the feast of Weeks, which brought a great crowd to Jerusalem. We call that day ‘Pentecost’ which means the 50th day.
Before we proceed perhaps we should say something about the Trinity. The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob had the personal name of YAHWEH, as Moses was told in Exodus 3. In most English Bibles this name is indicated by the word LORD, in capital letters, reflecting the fact that in Biblical times they did not say the name YAHWEH, but substituted their word for Lord. We will say ‘LORD God‘.
The LORD God is referred to in many ways in the OT:
- as Spirit (Is 63: 7, 10 where we read ‘I will tell of the kindnesses of the Lord,
the deeds for which he is to be praised, according to all the Lord has done for us –
yes, the many good things he has done for Israel’ And then ‘Yet they rebelled and grieved his Holy Spirit.),
- as Wisdom (Prov 1: 20, 29 where we have ‘Out in the open wisdom calls aloud,’ and then ‘they hated knowledge and did not choose to fear the Lord.),
• as Word (Is 55: 11 ‘my word goes out from my mouth: it will achieve the purpose for which I sent it),
- as Law (Ps 19: 7 ‘The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul.).
To a greater or lesser extent these were spoken of, or related to, almost as if they were the LORD himself.
This prepares us for the NT where first Jesus, then the Holy Spirit, are referred to in ways that indicate they are the LORD: the same LORD God but a different person. There is one God but three persons. God the Father is in heaven. Jesus God is with him after effecting our salvation through his death on the Cross, Spirit God is with us in the everyday, mediating the things of God and Jesus to us.
The passage we are about to look at today tells us how the presence of the Holy Spirit was signalled to the early disciples. It sets the tone for how we are to understand his presence.
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