An Empowered Fellowship

KEY VERSE: “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.” —Zechariah 4:6

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: Acts 2:1-4, 12-18, 37, 38

PENTECOST, according to the Law (Lev. 23:15-17), was to be celebrated fifty days after the Sabbath that followed the Passover. Our Lord’s ascension occurred forty days after the Passover. This meant that the disciples were to wait ten more days before the promise of the Father could be brought to pass. Pentecost, under the Law, was for the offering of the firstfruits of the harvest. And so, in the execution of the type, it marked the first fulfillment (other than Jesus himself) of God’s Holy Spirit being poured out upon his servants. These were the first-fruits of the Spirit, of whom there were to be many more similarly blessed down through the Gospel Age. The purpose of this blessing was stated by Jesus: “The Comforter, which is the Holy … [Spirit], … [which] the Father will send in my name, … [it] shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said to you.” (John 14:26) “The Spirit of truth … will guide you into all truth.” (John 16:13) The Apostle Paul confirms this thought as follows, “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.”—I Cor. 2:9,10

The commission that the Lord gave to the disciples just before he ascended was, “Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Spirit is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8) In order for them to be effective witnesses, it was necessary for them to understand something of God and his divine plan of the ages. This was made possible by the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. To communicate the message of truth to the various dialects and nations of that day, the Lord gave them the power to speak in different languages, since, for all practical purposes, the only means of communication was by word-of-mouth.

To further enhance the effectiveness of the ministry of the disciples, God gave them the power to perform miracles. This should have given authenticity to their message, and it did to those who were of a contrite heart. When the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples and they began to speak to the assembled multitude in their native languages, the people were amazed. Some exclaimed, “We do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.” (Acts 2:11) But others mocked and said, “These men are full of new wine.” (vs. 13) Peter, demonstrating the God-given enlightening power of the Holy Spirit, proclaimed to the multitude that what they were witnessing was related to the prophecy of Joel which foretold the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon all flesh. This was the beginning of the fulfillment of this promise, first to his servants, sons, daughters and handmaids during the Gospel Age. Then, after this work is done, “it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (vs. 21) This phase of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon all the remainder of mankind will take place in the kingdom of Christ on earth, soon to come.—Ezek. 36:26,27

Peter continued with his sermon to the multitude, explaining that Jesus was the one sent from God, which fact was attested to by the miracles and demonstrations of power that Jesus had performed. In spite of this, Peter stated, they had crucified him. But according to the promises, God had raised him from the dead. In proof that this was in fulfillment of the prophecies, he quoted from Psalm 16:8-11. In case some might think the psalm was speaking of David, Peter said, “Let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; he seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul [life] was not left in hell [grave], neither his flesh did see corruption.”—Acts 2:29-31

In support of the fact that Jesus had been raised, Peter said that all of the apostles were witnesses of his resurrection, and now he was with the Father. As further proof of this, the Holy Spirit had been shed forth, as they themselves had witnessed.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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