“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about Me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8 (NLT)
Shortly before His death, Jesus told His disciples to anticipate the coming of the Holy Spirit. In John 14 and 16, Jesus gave specific ministries the Holy Spirit would perform in the world and in their lives. In chapter 14, He said the Holy Spirit would be their guide, advocate, counselor, and comforter. He told them the Holy Spirit would teach them everything they needed to know and remind them of what Jesus had taught them. In chapter 16, Jesus told them that, when the Holy Spirit came, He would convict the world of its sin, and of God’s righteousness and of the coming judgment. It must have been difficult to process all the information Jesus shared with the disciples on the evening before His arrest.
Then, following His death and resurrection when Jesus appeared to His disciples, He told them how they would accomplish the commission He gave them. Just before He ascended back to the Father in Heaven, He told them,
“Do not leave Jerusalem until the Father sends you the gift He promised, as I told you before. John baptized with water, but in just a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
In verse 8 He added,
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about Me everywhere – in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
There was no definite timeline given as to when the Holy Spirit would come to do all of this. All the disciples knew is that they were to stay in Jerusalem, wait, and pray in anticipation that He would come. That’s exactly what they did. Luke records in Acts chapter one that the apostles returned to Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives and went to the upstairs room of the house where they were staying. In addition to the apostles, about 120 believers gathered together awaiting the promise of the Holy Spirit. Can you imagine the wonder and anticipation that must have filled their hearts? What will happen when He comes? How will life change? What will we do then?
Then, it happened! Ten days later, the Holy Spirit came. It was on the day of Pentecost, one of the three required feasts for Jews to celebrate in Jerusalem at the Temple. Little did Peter or any of the disciples know that would be the day; but, before the day was over, there was no doubt! When the Holy Spirit came, everything changed! They were given power to communicate the gospel in a supernatural way. Luke says there were Jews from every nation that had come for the festival who heard Peter preach the gospel in their own language and dialect. They witnessed supernatural manifestations of the Holy Spirit’s presence that fulfilled exactly what Jesus told them He would do. Deep conviction filled the hearts of those who heard Peter’s message about Jesus. Acts 2:37 says,
“Peter’s words pierced their hearts, and they said to him and to the other apostles, ‘Brothers, what should we do?’”
The Holy Spirit’s conviction led them to repentance, and 3,000 Jews put their faith in Jesus as their Savior and were baptized that day. The church was born! It grew from 120 to 3,120 in one day! Talk about exponential growth – and this was just the beginning! That’s the difference the Holy Spirit makes! When He comes, lives are changed! Have you experienced the transformation in your life that only the Holy Spirit can bring? His presence brings life, the power to change and become all that God wants you and me to be. It must have been exciting to be at that baptism service! In obedience to the final instructions Jesus gave His disciples, they took each one who put their faith in Christ and baptized them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Have you taken that same step of faith in your life? Last weekend, we celebrated the miracle of life change among hundreds that followed Christ in believer’s baptism just like the people at Pentecost. It was an unforgettable experience! If you missed it we have another exciting opportunity for you to join us at Super Summer Baptism 2 on June 25th or 26th at a Woodlands Campus near you. You can experience the refreshing power of the Holy Spirit in your life as you take this step of obedience to Christ!