The Holy Spirit had come upon all the apostles, and they were speaking about God's wonderful power in many different languages (Acts 2:4). Their excitement and the gathering crowd attracted still more people to ask what was going on (Acts 2:12). Peter was the spokesman: he simply quoted from the Old Testament writings of Joel (Joel 2:28-32). The coming of the Holy Spirit to every believer had been predicted some 800 years previously.
Joel had seen through the material prosperity of his time to the dreadful spiritual poverty of Israel. Religious rites were useless unless the worshippers were right before the Lord; and so he urged the nation to repent, because God was coming to judge His people (Joel 2:12-14). The same situation existed at Pentecost: a glut of religion and a dearth of real relationship with God. They hated Jesus, the Saviour, and after killing Him they had no protection against God's wrath.
The Spirit came to all believers: young and old, male and female. The evidence was that He spoke God's Word through all His servants, just as He had done through the Old Testament prophets. Peter knew that the message was still the same, but Jesus had brought everything into sharp focus. Jesus will come back to judge, and so every sign and wonder revealed is a challenge to repent because God will save all who believe in Jesus. Some of the global and cosmic signs have not yet been fulfilled, but Jesus promised that they will before He comes (Matthew 24:29-30). That delay does not detract from the message; in fact every extra day before Christ's return makes us more accountable because the world has had more time to repent (2 Peter 3:9).
Peter said that God was still speaking through Joel ('In the last days, God says …'). Once He has spoken, His Word remains true until its final fulfilment. He continues to speak today through the Bible because He inspired the original writers (1 Peter 1:10-12). The theme remains the same: repent and trust Jesus as Saviour now. He does not bring blessings to religious people who continue in sin. He brings salvation for all who turn to Him and away from their sin. Conversion without repentance is useless fake religious insurance. If you are not trusting Jesus today, repent quickly before He returns (www.crosscheck.org.uk). If you know you are saved, let God fill you with His Spirit daily, enabling you to be His gospel messenger to your friends and colleagues (Acts 1:8).
© Dr Paul Adams