Power for a Purpose
By David Brandt Berg
Shortly before His crucifixion and resurrection, Jesus promised His disciples that He would send them a Comforter, the Holy Spirit, to strengthen, empower, lead, and guide them in their spiritual lives and personal relationships with Him.
When Jesus was with them in body, His disciples loved Him and knew that He loved them. They enjoyed being in His presence and hearing the comforting sound of His voice, but they didn’t yet know Him the way they were to know Him later in spirit.
But after Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, when the promise of the Holy Spirit was fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost, the disciples found that even though His body was gone from them, His Spirit was with them in greater power than ever before—and not just with them, but in them!
Before Jesus ascended to Heaven, He told His followers to not depart from Jerusalem, but to “wait for the Promise of the Father, ‘which,’ He said, ‘you have heard from Me. … And you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me'” (Acts 1:4,8). So they waited in Jerusalem, fasting and praying (Acts 1:14).
“Now when the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place” (Acts 2:1). About 120 people, both men and women, were numbered with the disciples at that time (Acts 1:15), and they were all together and united in mind, heart, and spirit.
Jesus had them wait in Jerusalem so that when the infilling of the Holy Spirit came, they would be in a position to win many others to Him. That was the main purpose of the Day of Pentecost—not just the supernatural manifestations that took place. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the disciples was a means to an end.
“And suddenly there came a sound from Heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues [languages they had never learned or spoken before], as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:3-4).
Because this took place on an annual holy day, the Feast of the Harvest, Jerusalem was filled with Jews “from every nation under heaven” (Acts 2:5). “And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language” (Acts 2:5-6).
“So they were all amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, ‘Whatever could this mean?’ Others mocking said, ‘They are full of new wine’ (Acts 2:12-13).
“But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, ‘Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words. For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day [9 am]. But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, that I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh. … And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved'” (Acts 2:14-17,21).
“Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about 3,000 souls were added to them” (Acts 2:41). Thousands of people accepted Jesus and were saved! That’s the most important thing that happened on the Day of Pentecost. Power for witnessing is the main purpose of the Holy Spirit.
“Continuing daily with one accord in the Temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:46-47).
Then came another one of God’s great setups. God picked somebody that everybody in town knew—a lame man who daily sat begging on the Temple steps. Along came Peter and John, and God performed another great miracle. The man was instantly healed, and the people were filled with wonder (Acts 3:10).
“So when Peter saw it, he responded to the people: ‘Men of Israel, why do you marvel at this? Or why look so intently at us, as though by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk? The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified His Servant Jesus. … And His [Jesus’] name, through faith in His name, has made this man strong, whom you see and know. Yes, the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all'” (Acts 3:12-13,16).
“Many of them which heard the Word believed,” and another 5,000 people received Jesus as their Savior (Acts 4:4).
What was it about those first Spirit-filled disciples that convinced so many that Jesus was who He had said He was, the Messiah? “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13).
Peter, John, and the others didn’t let their backgrounds or anything else hold them back. They just went ahead and witnessed boldly, and they had tremendous power that got tremendous results. It was obvious that they had been with Jesus. They had the Master’s power to carry on the Master’s work!
Have you been filled with the Spirit of God’s love?
Before the time of Christ, God only anointed certain leaders, kings, and prophets with His Spirit, but now the Holy Spirit is available to all who receive Jesus. “It shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh” (Joel 2:28).
Ever since the Day of Pentecost, when the first disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit, the Lord has made the same Holy Spirit power available to every Christian. Now everybody can have the Holy Spirit and be led directly by the Lord. Now we can all enjoy Him anywhere, everywhere, any time, all the time, in all His power and fullness, and we can all be reached equally, fairly, and simultaneously through the communication of the Holy Spirit.
Everyone who receives Jesus as their Savior is given a certain amount of the Spirit, but receiving a complete infilling—or “baptism”—of the Holy Spirit is usually a subsequent experience to that of salvation. This is why the apostle Paul inquired of certain disciples he met, “Have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed?” (Acts 19:2). If you are saved, this power from God is yours for the asking. Like salvation, it is a gift of God. “Your heavenly Father [will] give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him” (Luke 11:13).
Be filled with the Holy Spirit, and you will be closer to Jesus and understand His Word better. The Holy Spirit will also give you the boldness you need to share your faith with others. If you haven’t already, you can receive the infilling of the Holy Spirit right now by praying this prayer:
Dear Jesus, please fill me to overflowing with the Holy Spirit so that I can love You more, follow You more closely, and have greater power to tell others about Your love and salvation. Amen.
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