“WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?”

Scripture Reading:  Acts 2:12-21

“And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, ‘What does this mean?’  But others mocking said, ‘They are filled with new wine.’”  (Acts 2:12-13)

Like most great movements of God, human beings have a hard time understanding them.  The Holy Spirit had come in great power.  The disciples began speaking in various languages as the Spirit gave them utterance (v. 4).  Many people were in Jerusalem from other countries to celebrate the Feast of Pentecost (v. 5).  When they heard the disciples speaking their languages, “they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language.  And they were saying, ‘Are not all these who are speaking Galileans?  And how is it that we hear, each of us, in his own native language?’” (vs. 6-8).

There were two basic reactions to what the people witnessed:  some were amazed and perplexed while others mocked the disciples.  The same reactions can be expected today as well.  When we tell others about the supernatural work of God in our lives, some are amazed while others may mock us.  Some are in awe, while others think we are foolish.

Peter stood up and made a defense before the people (vs. 14-15).  He immediately appealed to the Scripture (vs. 16-21).  He quoted a passage from Joel 2:28-32 in which God made the promise that He would pour out His Spirit upon all mankind.  “And in the last days, it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh…” (v. 17a).  The “last days” began with Christ’s first advent and will end with His second advent.  The first part of Joel’s prophecy, the outpouring of the Spirit of God, occurred on the Day of Pentecost (vs. 17,18).  The latter part of the prophecy will not be fulfilled until the second coming of Jesus, “the Day of the Lord” (vs. 19-21).  Joel’s prophecy also alludes to the inclusion of the Gentiles into God’s covenant people.  God’s Spirit was to be poured out on all flesh, not just the Jewish people.

The people who observed this supernatural work of God asked the right question:  “What does this mean?”  What happened on the Day of Pentecost was the fulfillment of the promise given by the Father and the Son.  They would send the Holy Spirit who would dwell within every believer.  A new era began as the Spirit came to permanently indwell all true followers of Jesus Christ.

Lord God, thank You for the gift of the Holy Spirit.  Thank You for fulfilling Your promise that the Spirit would be poured out upon Your people, both Jew and Gentile.  Thank You for the Spirit’s work in me.

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