|Today’s Readings:||Genesis 2||Matthew 2||Ezra 2||Acts 2|
So much happens in Acts 2! It’s the day of Pentecost, the annual harvest festival held seven weeks after Passover. It was meant to be a time of bringing the best and first of the harvest to God in thanks of all that he has done. But here the situation changes. The focus falls not on the harvest of the farm, but on the harvest of the kingdom. The Holy Spirit is poured out in an incredibly dramatic way. As Peter says towards the end of the chapter, the Holy Spirit is given to all those who repent of their sins and turn back to God, being baptised in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sins. (Acts 2:38) A promise, he goes on to say, that is for everyone who is called by the Lord our God – those present that day, their relatives, even Gentiles who know nothing of God’s promises of old.
In Romans 8:23 Paul speaks of the Spirit within us being a foretaste of future glory, when our bodies will be released from sin and suffering. Other translations speak of us having the firstfruits of the Spirit. Pentecost, when the Spirit is poured out, speaks of the great harvest that God is about to undertake when Jesus returns. What a wonderful joy to know that we will be with him on that day!
I love how the Spirit empowers these first witnesses to preach in languages that they’ve never learnt. It’s not because one has to speak in tongues to prove you’ve got the Spirit. The bible is clear about that. But simply because there were people from all ends of the known world in Jerusalem that day. Surely they could all speak at least passing Greek (the lingua-franca of the day). And yet God enables them to hear the gospel in their own language!! Enough that when Peter starts speaking (and I think he must have then spoken in either Greek or Aramaic or Hebrew – though I’m far from certain!) they are captivated and listen with great intensity.
3000 people became Christians that day! Incredible!
Thank you so much for promising that your Spirit is freely given to all who follow your Son. I thank you that you have already started gathering in your people, as we would gather in a crop of grain. Please use me – like you used those early disciples – to touch the hearts of my friends and families, so that they too will turn to you and be saved. Thank you for having saved me. I love you so much.