The power of the Holy Spirit is demonstrated through the apostles.
Wait for What Was Promised
Acts 1:1–5 LEB
At the end of the gospels, we see how hard it was for the disciples to believe, to recognize Jesus after He rose from the dead. Now, He speaks, gives orders to His apostles, as it says in Acts 2:2 LEB “through the Holy Spirit”. After Acts 2:3 LEB “many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking the things about the kingdom of God”. And Jesus gives them a command, one that is difficult for any of us, in Acts 1:4 “wait for what was promised”.
Why Do You Stand There?
Acts 1:6–11 LEB
They had been following Jesus as the leader and thought in Acts 1:6 “is it at this time you are restoring the kingdom to Israel?”, that he might rule. But this isn’t the plan. The plan is for them in Acts 1:8 “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 farthest part of the earth.”
They are no longer following Jesus as the one on earth who is showing the will of the Father, as the one declaring the Kingdom of Heaven, now, they are the witnesses. It is time for them to move, to act, and they are in Acts 1:10 “staring into the sky”. The angels looking on ask in Acts 1:11 “why do you stand there looking?” There is nothing more behind them. Now, everything is in front of them, just as it is for us. There is no going back, there is only the life ahead of us.
With One Mind in Prayer
Acts 1:12–26 LEB
This was a large group, not just the apostles, in Acts 1:14-15 “together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus and with his brothers … a crowd of persons of about one hundred twenty at the same place”. And even so, there was order because Acts 1:14 says “All these were busily engaged with one mind in prayer”. When we choose to come together, and engage ourselves in prayer, not the everyone praying everything kind of prayer we sometimes see, but with “one mind”, seeking God’s will and not pushing our own, there is order.
Then, in Acts 1:15 it says, “in those days”. It wasn’t the first day, and maybe not the second, and they may have been there for ten days, but somewhere as they were praying with one mind, in Acts 1:15 “Peter stood up” and began to speak. This is the way God wants to work among us. There was plenty of time for them to get through God’s agenda.
Peter reminds them all of the scripture and quotes Psalms 69:25, and the now empty seat among the apostles. Then in Acts 1:21-22, he talks about those other “men who have accompanied us during all the time in which the Lord Jesus went in and went out among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day on which he was taken up from us” and says, “one of these men must become a witness of his resurrection together with us”.
It isn’t clear how many others there were, but two were now named. And, in Acts 1:26, Matthias was named. There are sometimes people that walk through the same experiences, and maybe even have the same or better qualifications, but God gives gifts Ephesians 4:8-16, and it is up to him to choose.
They Were All Filled With the Holy Spirit
Acts 2:1–13 LEB
The apostles were still all together in the same place, with their crowd of people, praying with one mind when in Acts 2:1 “the day of Pentecost had come”. Then in Acts 2:4-6 (LEB) And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages as the Spirit gave them ability to speak out. 5 Now there were Jews residing in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation under heaven. 6 And when* this sound occurred, the crowd gathered and was in confusion, because each one was hearing them speaking in his own language.
This was not something done in secret, behind closed doors, in fact, it was such an event, that everyone around took notice. And they said, in Acts 2:7 “Behold, are not all these who are speaking Galileans?”.
It is easy for us to read past the meaning here, “This word was used as a name of contempt as applied to our Lord’s disciples (Luke 22:59; Acts 2:7)”. 1
And, the contempt ran deep, not just in manner of speech but also as being suspect of rebellion, “Dialect distinguished them from Jews in Jerusalem and Judah, particularly the difficulty in distinguishing the sounds of the gutturals that are important in Hebrew and Aramaic. Peter’s Galilean style of speech set him apart from the courtyard crowd during Jesus’ trial (Mark 14:70; cp. Acts 2:7). Jesus was identified as being from Galilee (Matt. 26:69). Pilate used this as an excuse to get Herod to hear Jesus’ case (Luke 23:6–7). Galileans had a reputation for rebellion and disregard of Jewish law (Acts 5:37), so they could be regarded as sinners (Luke 13:2).” 2
But God had promised something better than their history, “the designation “Galilee of the Gentiles” (Isa 8:23)”. 3
And, here in Acts 2:8-12 we see the great diversity of people’s that were in Jerusalem. All of them hearing in their own native tongue. All amazed. All trying to understand what was happening.
This wasn’t an event planned and scheduled by men. God did this. I don’t mean that we should not try to engage people with the message of the Kingdom, I simply mean that there are times and seasons when God moves in ways that are beyond our natural understanding. I should also note, that this came after a season of united prayer where they were together with one mind.
Pay Attention to My Words
Peter begins to speak and to say this is fulfillment of prophecy. He says, in Acts 2:15 (LEB)
For these men are not drunk, as you assume, because it is the third hour of the day. And “The third hour of the day” denotes nine o’clock (in the morning). 4
Then in Acts 2:16-21 Peter quotes from Joel 2:28–32 which ends in vs 21 with “And it will be that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved”. And, Peter says again, Israelite men, listen to these words!”. Then he goes on to say, “Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with deeds of power and wonders and signs” and in vs 23 “you executed” which is a direct indictment of them all as “lawless men”. But, Peter doesn’t stop there, he goes on to say in Acts 2:24 “God raised him up”.
God Has Made Him Both Lord and Christ
Acts 2:25–36 LEB
In Acts 2:25-28 Peter is quoting Psalm 16:8–11 which says “for you will not abandon my soul to Sheol;”. And in Acts 2:30 Peter quotes Psalm 132:11 which promises that “One from the fruit of your ⌊body⌋ I will set on your throne”. Then in Acts 2:34-35 he quotes Psa 110:1 which is “A declaration of Yahweh to my lord”.
All of this would have been easily understood by these men, that Jesus descended from David and is rightful heir to the throne, and by calling him “my Lord” he exalts Jesus to a new position, not just as David’s son, but as Lord of all. And, in Acts 2:36, Peter makes it absolutely clear that it was the Messiah, the Lord, Christ that they crucified.
What Should We Do?
Acts 2:37–41 LEB
Peter’s message had been blunt, maybe even brutal and Acts 2:37 says, “they were pierced to the heart”. Once they asked, “what should we do?”, the answer was simple, in Acts 2:38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized, each one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit”.
This is the work Jesus came to do, to make a way for our repentance, to make a way for us to be reconciled to God. And in Acts 2:39 “the promise is for you and for your children, and for all those who are far away, as many as the Lord our God calls to himself.”
- Acts 1:1–5
- Acts 2:1–13
- Acts 2:37–41
- Acts 1:1-26
- Acts 2:1-41
- 1. Easton, M. G. (1893). In Easton’s Bible dictionary. New York: Harper & Brothers.
- 2. Brand, C., Draper, C., England, A., Bond, S., Clendenen, E. R., & Butler, T. C. (Eds.). (2003). Galilean. In Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary (p. 615). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
- 3. Freyne, S. (1992). Galilee: Hellenistic/Roman Galilee. In D. N. Freedman (Ed.), The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary (Vol. 2, p. 895). New York: Doubleday.
- 4. (n.d.). The Lexham Figurative Language of the New Testament Dataset.