Filled with the Holy Spirit
"All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:4).
The most important truth about the Day of Pentecost was that the disciples were all filled with the Holy Spirit. The sound of wind and the appearance of tongues of fire were not necessary to the coming of the Holy Spirit, but they were symbolic of His coming.
These people who had received the Holy Spirit were giving praise and thanksgiving to God out of the overflow of gladness in their hearts! The wind, the fire, and the tongues ushered in the coming of the Holy Spirit to all of them. Luke wrote in the Book of Acts that in that place, at that time, and under those conditions, these amazing thing took place.
Remember, it had been ten days since these people had last seen Jesus. They had been waiting. There they were — the apostles, with the women and with Jesus’ mother and His brothers — waiting in the upper room for they knew not what! What would this promised experience be like? What would this experience hold for them?
Then, quite suddenly, they were all caught up by the Spirit, overpowered by the Spirit, born of the Spirit into a new consciousness of Jesus, and of themselves, and of everything! In a way they could not explain, they found themselves in a closer relationship with Jesus than they had experienced when He had been among them. They began to grasp things He had said that had been mysteries to them. They remembered things He had done that they had not understood. In that very hour, they came to a new understanding of Jesus.
They did not realize how incomplete had been their perspective of His ministry. Only ten days earlier they had asked Him if He was now going to restore the Kingdom to Israel. Was He going to establish an earthly kingdom? Now, there dawned upon them a realization of the vastness of His kingdom and the immensity of His mission — and they found themselves to be the appointed messengers of this good news!
They also came to a new awareness of themselves. They could suddenly see their own weaknesses. They could recognize their own foolishness. They could see clearly past actions that now saddened them. All became new in that hour: God, and life, and the world.
This small group of people had been walking with Jesus for the past three years, yet looking back in the light of Pentecost’s glory, they saw that it was all far greater than anything they could possibly have imagined. They became aware of a power that was transforming them and driving them forward to proclaim the truths of Jesus. Up until that very minute, there had never been a “Christian” in the entire world, apart from Jesus Christ.
Let us consider this experience of Pentecost in relation to the work of Jesus. Pentecost was the culmination of His earthly ministry and the beginning of his heavenly mission. Everything else He had done had been in preparation for this. Throughout His ministry, during His crucifixion, and after His resurrection (until He ascended to heaven), His earthly experience was one of limitation. He felt it keenly. From the moment that the Holy Spirit came and filled these men, the constraint was gone. Barriers were torn down. Bonds were broken. Christianity began.
Let us quickly review the work of Jesus. Scripture tells us that Christ’s ministry did not begin on earth, but in heaven. Philippians 2: 6-8 takes us to that time and place, and it is here that we read of how Jesus “emptied himself” - “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death — even death on a cross.” We cannot fathom this mystery, but we can say that Jesus laid aside all of His rights as God in the interest of humanity.
Jesus is God; fully equal to the Father and to the Holy Spirit. However, He did not hold onto those rights to His own advantage. Rather, He whose form was suitable to heaven agreed to be born of the Spirit and to take on the form of a man, a form suitable to earth. He moved from sovereignty to submission.
The first step that the Son of God took in God’s plan for human redemption was that of emptying himself. The final step was that of filling men. “They were all filled with the Holy Spirit.” He had emptied Himself, and now He filled them. He told His disciples that He would ask the Father, and the Father would give Him the Holy Spirit to pour out on them.
We read of this in John 14:1–21:
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”
Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”
Jesus answered, “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father?' Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever — the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.“
A new day had arrived in human history. New life and a new creation appeared on earth. Christianity was forever established.
BIBLE VERSE TO MEMORIZE:
"All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:4).
QUESTIONS TO PONDER:
1. In what ways did the mission of the Lord Jesus Christ change with the coming of the Holy Spirit?
2. The first step Jesus took in God's plan for human redemption was to EMPTY HIMSELF. How did He do that?
3. The final step that was taken in God's plan for human redemption was to FILL US. What does this mean?
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