NO DOUBT ABOUT IT, this chapter of Acts may seem to be the most exciting one in the book. It covers the outpouring of the Spirit of God on the Church (the 120 that were still around after three years, a crucifixion and resurrection).
So let’s really look more intently at the meaning of what happened: Remember, Jesus told them this would happen in the last chapter, and what the purpose and result would be. “You will receive power…you will be…witnesses…” Keeping this in mind, I notice that there are four different descriptions of what the Holy Spirit did that day – all describing the same event:
- Baptized them (Acts 1:5)
- Came upon them (Acts 1:8)
- Filled them (Acts 2:4)
- Poured upon them (Acts 2:17, 2:28)
It’s hard to notice this and still make a big deal (or even a doctrine) out of separating these descriptions. Jesus said the Spirit would come upon them (tongues of fire) and baptize (immerse) them, Luke writes that the Spirit was poured out on them, and filled them. And the result? They became Witnesses! There were Jews from at least 15 countries listed, and they heard “the mighty deeds of God” (verse 11) in their own language. The question they asked in verse 12 was “What does this mean?” So Peter told them.
The reason the “mighty deeds of God” were now being heard in all these languages was because “God has made Him (Jesus) both Lord and Christ”! (verse 36) That’s why. This was a witness to the fact that Jesus is the Messiah – Savior of the world. Peter preaches from the Prophetic Psalms which describe David’s relationship to the coming Messiah – showing (witnessing) that Jesus is the One.
I think that the witness of Scripture is designed by God to help us see our own life in the Story. Our witness (experience) of what God has done in our lives is what the Spirit of God seeks to empower. Who is speaking about these things? Different from teaching doctrine, instructing how to live, the witness of God’s “mighty deeds” in our lives lifts up His authority and worth before others. If we are not witnessing of what we have seen, how do we expect God to show us more? Where is our joy over the true treasure, when we so quickly move on to talk about the latest movie, or news about the Vikings stadium? What we seek, and what we think is worth talking about, that is what we will find! As Jesus said:
“Or what woman, if she has ten silver coins and loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin which I had lost!’ In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” Luke 15:8-10
Acts 2. It’s about the power of the Spirit of God – to make us Witnesses.