Hands down, Acts 2 has to be one of the most famous and incredible sermons in the New Testament. I can’t even imagine what it would have been like to be in the crowd on the day of Pentecost. Can you imagine feeling the rushing wind of the Holy Spirit, loud and sudden? They could hear it and feel it. Can you imagine what it was like to be Peter; to be so filled with the kind of boldness that only the Holy Spirit can fill you with that you are able and willing to stand up and address a crowd of thousands. Peter was just a fisherman, an ordinary man. He had many shortcomings and failures which makes reading this passage in Acts 2 all the more amazing to me.
I have rarely felt the sweeping force of the Holy Spirit in my life. Occasionally in a worship service or in a deep conversation with friend that leaves me thinking “where did those words come from?” Jesus promised that the moment we believe in him we are filled with and sealed with the Holy Spirit but to actually live and walk and act like we are filled is different. Until just a few days before Pentecost, Peter had walked the Earth with God the Son and now Peter stands up to address the crowd without Him physically there. As a fisherman, he wouldn’t have had the bible knowledge that Paul did. He wasn’t a scholar or a priest but a regular guy like you and I. Despite his failures, Peter steps up, takes a deep breath and speaks. He recalls the words of the prophets Joel and King David. Through their words he reveals to the people of Jerusalem what all the confusion is about. The only way for Peter to have known what, when, where and how to speak these words was through the Holy Spirit. Peter reminds the crowd of the prophet’s words and how Jesus was the one that came and fulfilled the prophesy.
“Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.
“Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”
I am encouraged by the fact that despite my short comings and failures the Lord will still use me to speak. Despite my lack of knowledge and bible training, he has placed inside of me His Holy Spirit because of my belief in him. Peter boldly tells the crowd that the Holy Spirit is for anyone and everyone who believes. It’s a promise that we can all cling to and a word that was true then and is still true now.
“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. 39 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.”
Peter was willing to be used of God and he had the privilege and honor of watching as 3,000 saints were added to the Kingdom. I want to experience the Holy Spirit in the same way those in Jerusalem did that day. I have had tastes and glimpses of that power and I want more.
“Holy Spirit, come turn the hearts of this crooked generation to you and fill us with your Spirit. Let us become more aware of your presence and experience the glory of your goodness.”