We noted previously that the baptism of the Holy Spirit only occasioned significant beginnings (Vol. 1, No. 12). Peter said Pentecost was a “beginning” (Acts 11:18). Consider the “significance” of the beginning at Pentecost.
During His ministry, Jesus gave the Apostles the “power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease” (Matt. 10:1). However, the Apostles did not know “all things,” nor did they possess “all truth” (John 14:26, 16:13).
The night before His crucifixion, Jesus prepared the Apostles for His departure by assuring them that a Helper would come to them after He left (John 14-17). Jesus said the Helper would guide them into all truth, teach them all things, and bring to their remembrance all things Jesus had said (John 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7-15).
Forty days after His resurrection, Jesus ascended into heaven (Acts 1:3). On the day He ascended, Jesus commanded the Apostles to remain in Jerusalem for the “Promise of the Father,” and reminded them that they would, “be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now” (Acts 1:4-5; see also Luke 24:49).
Seven days later, the Apostles received the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:26-2:4). Immediately, the Apostles began “to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:4). As Jesus promised, the Apostles “received power” (Acts 1:8).
The purpose of this power was to enable the Apostles to “be witnesses [of Jesus] in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8). In other words, to better equip the Apostles to carry out the Great Commission (Mark 16: 14-18; Matt. 28:16-20). (Compare this to the purpose of our own non-miraculous gifts. Eph. 4:11-16, esp. 4:12). The Apostles fulfilled Jesus’ command by preaching the Gospel in the regions He specified, and in the very order commanded.
Peter said that Pentecost was “the beginning” (Acts 11:18). By this, he did not mean creation, but the beginning of:
The fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy, “I will pour out My Spirit in those days” (Acts 2:18; Joel 2:29).
The “last days” (Acts 2:16-17; see also Isa. 2:2; Micah 4:1).
The Gospel era (which was to be preached first in Jerusalem Acts 1:8; Isa. 2:3; Micah 4:2).
The New Testament church and God’s new kingdom (Dan. 2:44-45; Isa. 2:2-3; Micah 4:1). Jesus said, “[T]here are some standing here who will not taste death till they see the kingdom of God present with power” (Mark 9:1).
The lordship of Christ. Peter said Jesus was raised to sit on David’s throne (Acts 2:30, 32), at the right hand of God (v. 33) to be “both Lord and Christ” (v. 36).
The New Testament law (Jer. 31-33; Heb. 9:15-17, 10:9; Col. 2:14-16).
What did the Holy Spirit accomplish?
Beginning at Pentecost, the world changed. Speaking as the Spirit gave him utterance (Acts 2:4), Peter preached the first gospel sermon. As a result, 3,000 people were baptized (Acts 2:41). Afterwards, Peter and others continued preaching and working miracles until the doctrine of Christ had “filled Jerusalem” (Acts 5:28).
Later, Philip went to Samaria and many there “heeded” his teachings, “hearing and seeing the miracles” he did (Acts 8:5-6). Philip was “full of the Holy Spirit” and able to convert and baptize Samaritans through the preaching of Jesus and the kingdom of God (Acts 6:3, 5-6; 8:12-14). Although Philip was unable to pass on the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit as Apostles could (Acts 8:14-17), he was nonetheless an effective servant whom the Holy Spirit used to glorify Christ (Acts 8:39-40).
Afterwards, the Holy Spirit had Peter take the Gospel to Gentiles (Acts 10-11, esp. 10:19-20; 11:12). Other Christians, fleeing Jewish persecution, spread the Gospel “as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch” (Acts 11:19-20). From Antioch, the Holy Spirit sent Barnabas and Paul on Paul’s first missionary journey (Acts 13:1-5).
Eventually, the Apostles and others, working with the assistance of the Holy Spirit, succeeded in “turn[ing] the world upside down” (Acts 17:6) for the Gospel had not only been successful in Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria, but also “throughout almost all of Asia,” overturning religious power structures and economies based in idolatry (Acts 19:26).
Thus, the Apostles were able to boldly proclaim Jesus and make disciples in all nations (Matt. 28:19), because of the power they received from the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8, 2:1-4). Today, we have a product of the Holy Spirit’s inspiration – the Bible. How successful are we in using the Bible to proclaim Jesus and make disciples?