“And it shall be in the last days, God says, that I will pour forth of my spirit on all mankind and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.” – Acts 2:17; Joel 2:28
Sunday June 9th is the day of Pentecost. Let’s pray for God to pour out the Holy Spirit upon us!
What is Pentecost? Pentecost means “fiftieth” in Greek, because it is fifty days after Resurrection Sunday, or called “Shavuot” in Hebrew, meaning “weeks” because it occurs seven weeks after the Feast of First Fruits. At the Feast of First Fruits the high priest would gather an omer of wheat, as the first fruits, and then every day until fifty omers are counted. This is a picture of the resurrection of Christ, as Paul tells us:
“But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming.” – 1 Corinthians 15:20-23
We are his harvest ingathered, but Jesus is the first fruits of the resurrection (John 12:24).
Pentecost was also the day that Israel received the Torah from the LORD on Mount Sinai. There is a Jewish tradition that teaches when the Torah was given it was spoken in 70 languages according to the number of nations in Genesis 10; which may explain the speaking in different languages in Acts 2! When Moses came down from Sinai with the tablets, three thousand were killed for engaging in sin (Exodus 32:19-28). While in Acts 2, after Peter calls the people to repent and believe in Jesus, three thousand souls were saved (vv 38-41)!
What was the promise Jesus gave to His disciples? The promise is: “You will receive POWER when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses (meaning martyrs) both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even the remotest parts of the earth.” – Acts 1:8
Today, more than any other time, believers in Jesus need the POWER to be witnesses. This power is the same power of the Holy Spirit that came UPON the Old Testament saints to enable them to do miraculous deeds. It is different from the Spirit IN you (John 20:22) or ALONG side you (John 16:8-11). Notice, how even these great men of God DID NOT have the power in themselves to share the gospel effectively, or even live the gospel. We see Peter in his self-confidence and own strength deny Jesus (Luke 22:54-62). We can relate to Peter. We want to do what is right, but in our own flesh we are weak (Romans 7:21-24). Apart from Jesus we can do nothing (John 15:5). The power to be a witness is the power to lay your life down as a martyr, exactly what Peter said he would do but failed in his own strength. We might not die a martyr’s death burned at the stake or thrown to the lions, but we still need the power of the Spirit to lay our lives down for Jesus, and for one another, by serving Him, putting Him first, and other people before ourselves.
Is this promise for today? Yes! “The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off- for all whom the LORD will call.” (Acts 2:39, 10:47)
How do we receive the promise of the Holy Spirit? “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.” (Luke 11:11-13) If you are a believer in Jesus, and you have not received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, all you have to do is ask. God wants YOU to be a powerful witness of the risen Lord.
Will you ask for the promise of the Holy Spirit to be a powerful witness?