God Knows…When I Want to Get Ahead – Part 1
How can we get ahead in life? Well, how does a car get ahead in an auto race? First of all, it must have power. That’s exactly what the followers of Jesus needed to spread the good news of Jesus’ love to the whole world.
One of the last things Jesus told His followers before He left them to return to heaven was to stay in Jerusalem until they received power from on high (Luke 24:49 and Acts 1:5). He promised that the Holy Spirit would come to give them power to be Christ’s witnesses (Acts 1:8).
For 10 days the disciples waited in Jerusalem. But they didn’t just sit around. They went to the Temple to praise God. They prayed for themselves, for each other, and for those waiting to hear the story of Jesus. They resolved to bravely tell the world about Christ.
One day, as 120 of Jesus’ followers were gathered to pray and talk together, they heard a sound like a mighty rushing wind. Like flames of fire, the Holy Spirit came to each disciple, giving warmth and a burning desire to work for Jesus. This was about 50 days after the Passover, and was time for the Pentecost (meaning “The Fiftieth”). Crowds had come to Jerusalem from all over to celebrate.
God’s supreme power was soon to be witnessed by all. The Holy Spirit gave the disciples extraordinary language ability, so that all the visitors from various countries could hear the wonderful story of Jesus In their own language! When this news spread, a crowd gathered around the disciples.
“Aren’t these people who are speaking all from Galilee?” they asked. “How is it that each one of us can hear our own language?”
Soon the priests and rulers heard about this miracle. They were furious. Jesus had been put to death to stop His preaching. Now there were more than a hundred preachers using all the known languages!
With power and clearness Peter spoke about the death and resurrection of Jesus. He showed that Christ’s death was no accident. It was part of God’s plan. Peter spoke of David, one of the biggest heroes of the people. David had foretold that Christ would be raised from the dead (Acts 2:22-36).
“Let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ,” Peter declared.
The people were profoundly moved by Peter’s messages. They asked, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?”
Peter had a powerful answer for them. “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
Not only does the Holy Spirit provide power. The Holy Spirit also leads people in the right direction. “He will guide you into all truth” (John 16:13) Jesus said. The disciples saw this happen, right before their eyes. The Holy Spirit convinced hundreds of listeners that Jesus of Nazareth was the Savior and Messiah. They became willing to repent. A change of mind and a change of action are both part of repentance.
“Then those who gladly received [Peter’s] word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.” What a spiritual harvest! Day after day others joined the group which were to become known as Christians—followers of Christ.
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