Daily Bible Reading: 2 Samuel 21-22, Luke 18:24-43
Today’s reading in “The Story” is found in your book starting at the middle of page 390 (chapter 28) with the transition where we left off yesterday and it ends just before the transition near the bottom of page 397, with the words, “…Jesus is the Messiah.”
If you do not have “The Story” you may read the passages in the NIV Bible: Acts 2:1-24, 32-33, 36-47; 3:1-20; 4:1-21, 32-35; 5:12-42.
This devotion is based on a part of our lesson for today, found in Acts 2:1-24. This is the episode of the Pentecost on which the disciples received an infilling of the Holy Spirit that appeared as tongues of fire over their heads.
Nothing in history compares with the spread of the gospel. Acts 2 records the very beginning of this worldwide phenomenon. Jews from “every nation under heaven” (v. 5) were gathered in Jerusalem for Pentecost. This feast day celebrated the first fruits of the harvest (Lev. 23:19-22; Ex. 34:22) and was one the three most important holy days for Jews.
Filled with the Holy Spirit, the disciples began to share the good news of Jesus Christ with the crowds of Jews who had made the pilgrimage to Jerusalem for this great celebration. The list of nations (vv. 9-11) may be compared to the table of nations listed in Genesis 10, just before the Tower of Babel incident. If we were to draw a comparison, here, we would note that in contrast to God’s separation of the nations because of their sin at Babel, in Jerusalem God was drawing them back together to receive the word of salvation by the Holy Spirit.
Although some accused the disciples of being drunk, Peter recognized it as the event prophesying the last days as told by the prophet Joel (2:28-32). This outpouring of the Spirit was possible, because, unlike David who died and still lay in his tomb, Jesus now sat enthroned at the right hand of the Father.
In Jesus’ final words while on earth found in Matthew 28, we read that His disciples would be witnesses for Him to the ends of the earth. In Acts 1:8 we read that Jesus more clearly described to His disciples how the Holy Spirit would come to them, and what would happen as a result. The spread of the gospel would begin in Jerusalem, which is what we read about in today’s passage. And although the focus here was on the Jews, there is an assumption that because these Jews were from all over the known world, that they shared the gospel with others when they returned to their homes. Peter even talked about the gift of the Spirit being for others when he said in v. 39: “The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call,” indicating that the message was also for the Gentiles.
Peter spoke boldly about the message of salvation that was for the Jews and for Gentiles, too. He told all those people about the saving work of Jesus Christ for them. Now it’s our turn. Today, we can be witnesses for Jesus and we can tell someone about what He has done in our lives. Take the opportunity today to pray for people in your life who also need the gift of the Holy Spirit and asking the Holy Spirit to bring someone to you with whom you can share that great message of salvation. Pray also for the Gospel to be preached to other nations. Pray for the missionaries who are in remote places so that they may be effective in sharing the Gospel with those who do not know Jesus.
Prayer: Lord, fill me with Your Holy Spirit that I might be inspired to share the Gospel with someone who does not know Jesus. Amen.