Acts chapter 2 is amazing. I don't pretend to understand all of it, but I love it. It's difficult for me to comprehend "divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them," but I know it means that the Holy Spirit showed up. He came powerfully and forcefully. Wham! And when the Spirit arrived, Christ's followers changed. They transformed from fearful folks cowering in the shadows to bold witnesses for our Lord. Peter is a wonderful example. From denying Jesus to proclaiming him, Peter changed radically.
These changes in Christ's followers are all due to the power of the Holy Spirit. The Christians did not do this on their own. Rather, God kept his promise to send his Spirit. And send he did. The world has never been the same since.
Immediately after that first Gospel proclamation at Pentecost the crowd was stunned and convicted. We see the power of the Spirit in their response. Luke writes in 2:37-41:
Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Brothers, what shall we do?" And Peter said to them, "Repent and be baptized every 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. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself." And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, "Save yourselves from this crooked generation." So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.
The truly exciting part of this for us today is that this same Holy Spirit resides within us. We have access to this same power. I wonder sometimes if I have any clue just how powerfully the Spirit would like to live through me. Most days, I generally stumble along just trying to get basic tasks done. I think I need to begin praying for the Spirit to wake me up spiritually to see what he wants to do with me. Maybe you need to do the same.
The encouraging thing is that the Holy Spirit of Acts 2 is the same Spirit today. We have not been left on our own. We simply need to joyfully follow his leading.