Acts 1:8 is our foundational text, and it reads “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Jesus gives this statement to the disciples as he is about to ascend back to heaven. At this point they do not yet know exactly what he meant by it. The disciples returned to Jerusalem and waited and prayed for the Holy Spirit.
The explanation for Jesus’ statement arrives as the Spirit is poured out (Acts 2:1-4) “When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested[a] on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.”
This is simply an extraordinary experience for those first believers. We must notice that the day of Pentecost was not something theoretical. The 120 believers baptized in the Spirit experienced something. Immediately after this experience Peter gets up and begins preaching. Peter quotes from the prophet Joel to explain what has just happened.
“‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh,
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
and your young men shall see visions,
and your old men shall dream dreams;
18 even on my male servants and female servants
in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.” (Acts 2:17-18, quoting from Joel 2:28-32).
If we follow the sequence of the Pentecost story, you’ll notice that Jesus gave an instruction, the Holy Spirit was poured out and then Peter preached. The outpouring of the Spirit on Pentecost inaugurates the church and launches them into mission. The mission of the church that began that day has literally changed the world.
You may be saying, that’s interesting, but what does it mean for me? Why did this happen? A key thing to recognize is that God desires to give people good gifts. The Bible says:
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” (Matt 7:7-11)
A gift that God gives is never something to be afraid of. Let’s look at John’s account of Jesus’ resurrection for a bit of the backstory. When Jesus appears to the disciples on the evening of his resurrection, he speaks these words:
“Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” (John 20:21-22)
Jesus was shortly to return to heaven, but Jesus’ plan is to replace himself with himself. As we saw in the Acts passage, this is essential: “Jesus had to return to the Father so that the Spirit could come.” Now instead of having Jesus physically present on earth, every believer in the world will have the Holy Spirit in them. God desires to give the Holy Spirit to people. Not just special people, or a few people, but all people.
Now, Jesus is always trying to get our attention, he always wants to reveal himself to us and he always wants to communicate with us. We have to choose to respond or not. Perhaps we can think of it this way: I can know that my wife Michelle is in the room next to me, but we aren’t communicating at the moment. However, she steps into the room where I am and asks me a question, now we are interacting. I always believed that she existed when she was in the next room, but we weren’t interacting. We can believe that the Holy Spirit exists and is around us, but it is very different to be actively interacting with him. Do you believe that the Holy Spirit wants to interact with you?
Let’s look at it this way:
God has a good plan. This is shown to people through the Holy Spirit. As adopted children followers of Jesus receive an inheritance in the kingdom of God. This inheritance is marked by the giving of the Holy Spirit; a seal and guarantee of the inheritance of followers of Jesus. “The Holy Spirit is the Christian’s seal. The experience of the Holy Spirit in their lives is the final proof to them, and indeed a demonstration to others, of the genuineness of what they have believed, and provides the inward assurance that they belong to God as children.”
Paul says in Ephesians 1:13-14 “In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee[d] of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it”
The Holy Spirit is evidence that God’s goodness is at work. Through the Holy Spirit, God is up to something Good.
Today, on Pentecost Sunday, the Holy Spirit is calling to you. If you hear his voice, will you respond? Jesus desires to give you a good gift, to come into your life, to fill you with the Holy Spirit so you will never be alone. The Holy Spirit will lead and guide you closer to Jesus. Just as the disciples received the Holy Spirit on that original Pentecost so long ago, so today, people can still receive the Spirit. Will you receive Jesus and be filled with the Spirit today? If feel him tugging on your heart, let’s pray together today. “Jesus come into my heart, I ask you to fill me with the Holy Spirit. Forgive me for my past and help me to live for you.”
If you prayed those words today, you are part of God’s family! Let someone know and we’d love you hear from you and have a conversation!
God bless and have a great week.
 Arrington and Stronstad eds, Life in the Spirit New Testament Commentary, 1999 pg 109
 A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God, pg 65
 Foulkes, F. (1989). Ephesians: an introduction and commentary (Vol. 10, p. 64). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.