Spirit Filled Ministry
All the apostles faced the crowd who had gathered to see what the commotion was all about (Acts 2:1-4). The Holy Spirit had been given and now the life of Jesus, including His ability to speak right into people's hearts, had been multiplied. All the apostles were able to speak foreign languages to tell out the wonderful things God had done (Acts 2:8-11). Of course to those who did not understand the languages, the sounds would have been a meaningless babble. Some thought they were drunk (Acts 2:13).
Peter assumed command, and this time had the full assurance of Jesus in what he was saying. He was working with the Holy Spirit to explain what God had done. Firstly, he gave a simple answer to rebuff the charge of alcoholic excess – it was far too early in the day! Secondly he went to an authority they would understand and accept (their Bible which is now our Old Testament). It was not a sign of disorder but of direct divine communication as Joel had prophesied (Joel 2:28-32).
The Pentecost manifestations were unusual but not intended to be mysterious: their meaning was intended to be clear - neither to be invented by onlookers or to be hidden by religious leaders. Pentecost marked the time when the gospel could be declared fully and God's secrets of salvation were available to all. Most of all, Peter wanted to explain what people had observed by referring to the Bible, and the Holy Spirt was urging him to do so.
God never intended the gospel to be wrapped up in mystery. In fact, explaining the gospel is the unveiling of mystery. Paul says in Colossians 1:25-27, "I have become its [the church's] servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness – the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord's people. To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory." The church, living and explaining the gospel is God's open secret to the world. Yet so many religious people seem to want to make it complicated. Stop. Our job is to make the real Jesus and His salvation understandable and accessible to the world. Start where you are. www.crosscheck.org.uk might help to start a conversation which will lead to salvation for your friend or colleague.
© Dr Paul Adams