Today’s Reading: Acts 1:14-2:13; Psalm 109, 123, 125
They all met together and were constantly united in prayer, along with Mary the mother of Jesus, several other women, and the brothers of Jesus. – Acts 1:14
As the followers of Jesus anticipated what was coming, they gathered together and united themselves in prayer. 120 believers came together and spent time seeking God in prayer.
Peter recognized that there was someone missing from this body of believers. Judas had been one of them. They had spent three years doing life with their brother and they were feeling his absence, still stunned from his betrayal. But they made the choice not to wallow in self-pity or hold on to their anger. They chose to give it to God and move on.
Let his years be few; let someone else take his position. – Psalm 109:8
Peter stepped forward and suggested they fill this empty spot with someone who had been with them the whole time, from Jesus’ baptism until now. Two men were nominated and Matthias was chosen by the casting of lots to become an apostle with the other eleven (Acts 1:23-26).
Now that this business was taken care of, there was only one more thing to do – wait for the gift Jesus had promised would come.
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you.” – Acts 1:8a
Jesus promised the gift of the Holy Spirit and described the result as the receiving of power. The book of Acts describes the Spirit’s entrance as a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm and like flames or tongues of fire. The sound was so loud that it was heard across Jerusalem and everyone came running to see what was going on. How would you describe the Spirit’s presence in your life?
On the day of Pentecost all the believers were meeting together in one place. Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting. Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them. And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages, as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability.
At that time there were devout Jews from every nation living in Jerusalem. When they heard the loud noise, everyone came running, and they were bewildered to hear their own languages being spoken by the believers.
They were completely amazed. “How can this be?” they exclaimed. “These people are all from Galilee, and yet we hear them speaking in our own native languages! Here we are—Parthians, Medes, Elamites, people from Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus, the province of Asia, Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, and the areas of Libya around Cyrene, visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism), Cretans, and Arabs. And we all hear these people speaking in our own languages about the wonderful things God has done!” They stood there amazed and perplexed. “What can this mean?” they asked each other.
But others in the crowd ridiculed them, saying, “They’re just drunk, that’s all!” – Acts 2:1-13
The gift of the Holy Spirit is available for us today and could make a powerful difference in our lives and in the lives of those around us. Imagine the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives being so “loud” that people around us take notice. Imagine how God could use us if the Holy Spirit put the words in our mouths so that those to whom we are witnessing or ministering could understand the message – not our message, but His.
At the beginning of this summer, we celebrated Pentecost Sunday – the day we celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit. Today would be a great day to stop and consider the Holy Spirit’s presence in our lives and to ask God for a fresh infilling of His Spirit. To sit in our “upper room” and simply breathe in His presence and ask Him to empty us of all that is who we are and fill us with all that is Him.
Heavenly Father, fill us with your Spirit today. Give us a spirit of wisdom to direct our words and our actions. Give us a spirit of compassion to lead our hearts in the direction you pull. Empty us of our own selfish desires and give us a heart that beats for only you. May we be witnesses of your power in our lives today. Amen.