Promise fulfilled: Devotional Commentary for May 2-8
This is the Word of God. May the Spirit of Truth give us wisdom and insight to receive what has been conveyed through His Word by His Inspiration.
2:1 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.
In Acts chapter One, we learned that the Disciples continued in prayer waiting for the Lord's Promise. Now chapter Two, opens its pages with the spectacular fulfillment of God's Promise in ways that neither the Disciples nor the entire world expected. The appointed Day for the unfathomable revelation of God's magnificent glory was Pentecost; the high Holyday of the Feast of Weeks. The same Holyday was also the fiftieth day after the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The word Pentecost means fiftieth. Pentecost was, therefore, the fiftieth day from Passover during which one of the three major feasts was observed by the entire Jewish nation. The people were commanded to go to Jerusalem and offer the firstfruit of the harvest the Lord so bountifully provided for them. The Feast of Pentecost was instituted on the fiftieth day after Passover, bringing the Feast of weeks to a glorious finale. On this particular day however, fifty days after Jesus' Resurrection and ten days after His ascension, all of the Disciples—One Hundred and Twenty in total—were gathered together waiting for the Lord's gift of power, wisdom, and understanding promised to be given to them by the coming Holy Spirit.
2And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.
3And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them.
4And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.
Jesus instructed His Disciples to remain in Jerusalem until they receive Power from the Holy Spirit Whom He promised to send. But they had no idea how or when this Promise would be fulfilled. They simply waited in prayer and worship. They had faith in the words of their risen Savior; so they waited.
The Lord kept His Promise. The Holy Spirit came right into the room where the assembly was gathered and waiting. His arrival was sudden and unexpected. His presence was magnificent, overwhelming, and powerful. The Holy Spirit came sounding like a rushing wind, probably startling the waiting assembly of believers.
This was not some atmospheric phenomenon. The Disciples might have not felt any wind flowing at all. Instead, they might have just experienced a deafening roar as though a mighty wind was blowing through. The room where the Disciples gathered was filled by God's divine presence. God's divine presence descended on each Disciple directly from the throne of God in the Person of the Holy Spirit, visibly appearing as tongues of fire.
Nothing like this ever happened in the human experience before or since this gllorious occasion. Therefore, Luke used some natural elements such as wind and fire to describe the unfathomable transcending truth of God's manifest presence. God came down once again to His people, but this time in the Person of the Holy Spirit, and, took up residence in the hearts of those who were gathered and waiting anticipating His coming, by faith.
God's Promise was fulfilled and the redeemed of God were filled with Power, Courage, Wisdom, and Understanding. Each one was indwelt by the Spirit of Truth. The Holy Spirit transformed His servants and gave each Disciple instant capabilities to speak in new languages and communicate the Gospel to others in their own tongue. The Disciples, who were once distraught and discouraged, were now bold, wise, discerning, knowledgeable, and able.
5Now there were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation under heaven.
6And when this sound occurred, the crowd came together, and were bewildered because each one of them was hearing them speak in his own language.
7They were amazed and astonished, saying, "Why, are not all these who are speaking Galileans?
8"And how is it that we each hear them in our own language to which we were born?
9"Parthians and Medes and Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,
10Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya around Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes,
11Cretans and Arabs--we hear them in our own tongues speaking of the mighty deeds of God."
Because of Pentecost, Jerusalem was packed with pilgrims and residents who were gathered from far and near to celebrate God's blessings over the harvest of the fields. Both the pilgrims and those who lived in Jerusalem heard what sounded like a rushing mighty wind. It seemed that the sound served as a call to assemble, although the people were more likely frightened and were motivated to come more by their curiosity and apprehension than by a conscious response to the call of God. They were all stunned to hear these untrained and unpolished Galileans speak to them in their own native tongues.
The people who came to where the Disciples were, observed the spectacular manifestation of God's presence and His Power. They were from diverse regions and ethnic origins. There were Jews, Gentiles who were converted to Judaism, and visitors from Rome. Many traveled from present-day Iran, the Middle East, Turkey, North Africa, and the island of Crete. The Holy Spirit manifested Himself and publicly affirmed His Disciples.
12And they all continued in amazement and great perplexity, saying to one another, "What does this mean?"
13But others were mocking and saying, "They are full of sweet wine."
The people were able to converse with the Galileans in their own native language. The spectacle was perplexing to these devout men. They wanted to understand how the Disciples were able to accomplish such an incredible feat. However, despite their best efforts to unveil the mystery of divine Wisdom, they were unable to explain what they were observing. The irrefutable was taking place right before their eyes. The people were stunned.
Some of the observers tried desperately to figure out what was going on. Others were more derisive, alleging that the Disciples were drunk on sweet wine. Such were some of the voices in the crowd. They viewed God's unfathomable manifestation and the public revelation of His Grace with disparaging derogation.
The people missed the message of the Good News of the Gospel miraculously proclaimed in their own native tongue directly and in person. Instead of heeding the message, they became detractors of the revealed Truth. They became mere spectators of the mysterious divine revelation, albeit they failed to discern God's gracious descent into man's fallen world. They were privileged to witness divine revelation in person. However, they were quick to see but sluggish to hear. They were quick to deride but slow—very slow, extremely slow—to listen.
On the night before He was crucified and just before His ascension, Jesus told His Disciples to wait in Jerusalem until He sends them the Holy Spirit. Then on Pentecost the Promise was fulfilled with the sound of a rushing mighty wind and tongues of fire. The Disciples were endowed with new capabilities, power, courage, wisdom, knowledge, and understanding; and the populace was stunned.
The Gospel was preached with Power and Truth to everyone in their own native tongue. The mighty deeds of God were openly displayed and publicly declared. Many heard and believed. Some remained puzzled. Others mocked and continued in rebellion. But they were all without excuse. They were present in person. They saw. They heard.
The waiting was over. God came down to His people in the Person of the Holy Spirit and confirmed His perpetual presence among men. He established residence in the hearts of His children whom He redeemed for Himself.
The waiting was over. Jesus' Promise of sending the Holy Spirit was fulfilled. God our Father honored the Words of His Son Jesus Christ. God our Father, Jesus our Savior, and the Holy Spirit our Teacher, Guide, and Companion confirmed that all of the Promises of God are fulfilled in Jesus Christ.
Our Father is absolutely trustworthy. He fulfills His Promises. Our Lord and Savior is Himself the Truth. He is credible, absolutely reliable, and completely dependable. The Holy Spirit is our power, our courage, our wisdom, our understanding, our knowledge and ability. He lives in us and reigns over the world in us and around us. When the world looks at us: some are stunned, others are puzzled, a few will mock, but the called will respond. We are the Disciples of the risen Lord. The Power of His Spirit is at work in us. The waiting is over.
Go: Let us live the life that Christ wants to live in us. Let us walk in the Will of God and get in tune with His Precepts. Let the Holy Spirit do God's work in us and through us. Let Him reach the world around us. Let Him cause us to love the world as He does. Let Him cause us to serve the world as He does. Let Him point the world to the Cross where the penalty for our transgression is paid in full.
Fear not. We are not alone. God Himself is in us in His Spirit. We are empowered and gifted by the Holy Spirit. Let the Holy Spirit manifest in us the breadth, length, depth, and height of God's Power, Mercy, Love, and redeeming Grace. Go: Do not hesitate. The waiting is over. Let us feel the Spirit Who has filled our hearts with His presence.