The power of God was seen at Pentecost when His Spirit came to and rested upon the Apostles yet we know this was not a full manifestation of His power. After all He did create the universe out of nothing! In Acts 2 we see a momentary reversal of God’s work at the Tower of Babel. Pentecost is evidence that the one true God who confused the languages can unify them in one instant. We know the future hope for God’s people is perfect communion with God and with each other, and the power behind this work is manifest as the Holy Spirit is poured out at Pentecost.
In Acts 2 the Holy Spirit rushes in and rests upon the Apostles in an unmistakable fashion. The sound was such that many came to see what was happening. The Spirit’s presence led to unprecedented boldness and an amazing harvest of souls. This is all quite amazing, but we must not lose sight of what was going on there. If we exalt Peter and his words as saving agents in and of themselves we evidence our misunderstanding of the truth and place a burden on ourselves that Scripture does not place on us. Peter was an instrument of God, and it is God who accomplishes the whole work of salvation.
Those experiencing the events recorded in Acts 2 were “amazed and perplexed” and they attributed these works to the Apostles being “filled with new wine” (Acts 2:13). Peter is quick to let them (and us) know, however, that the power behind these events is the almighty Creator of heaven and earth, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Acts 2 records the historical outworking of His Spirit being poured out as promised in Joel 2, and this pouring out was not limited and temporary, but rather overflowing and eternal as the Spirit “rested on each one of them” (Acts 2:3).
God’s Spirit rested on His people then and we are promised that He continues to mark His people by resting on them today. The Holy Spirit is our guarantee of the promise and He dwells in us. While He does not regularly manifest His power to the eyes of men in the same manner now as he did then (removing language barriers, entering as a mighty rushing wind, etc.), His power is clearly seen as He regenerates the dead, stale hearts of His enemies.
While the message of Scripture points us toward Christ and calls us to be witnesses to the work of Christ in our lives, it is the Holy Spirit that works in us “both to will and to work for His good pleasure” (Phil 2:13). It is God’s Spirit that quickens us and enables us to “see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). It is the Holy Spirit that moves us to lift up our voices as witnesses to the person and work of Christ as Peter does in Acts 2:14. It is this movement of God’s Spirit that caused the people to be “cut to the heart” and cry out “what shall we do” bringing “about three thousand souls” into the kingdom.
When we read Acts 2, we may long to see the Spirit of God move in powerful ways in the Church today. It is right for us ask for this since we are told, “let your requests be made known to God” (Phil 4:6). When the Spirit desires the Church to thrive He moves and makes it thrive, and it is a great pleasure to the body of Christ when this power is shown on earth. We must not lose sight, however, that the final victory and greatest joy for the Christian is in the eternal kingdom. Christians throughout the ages have been called to look toward Christ in hope regardless of where they live and regardless of the apparent strength of the Church in that time and place. The hope points their eyes to the kingdom that is here, but not yet fully revealed.
We are to be witnesses to this kingdom and to the awesome power of God that turned the world upside down in the 1st century. God poured out His Spirit not to restore the kingdom of Israel on earth, but to glorify the Son who is the Savior of the world. A Savior and King whose kingdom “is not of this world” (John 18:36). Rest assured, the Holy Spirit of God is alive and active today, and we should find joy in knowing that this Spirit living in us has the power to do what He will as is evidenced in the events of Acts chapter 2.