Elvis knew how to make an entrance. Movie stars have it down. And toddlers know how to work the system. It starts with a great audience, people who understand your message so that when you jump out, people will react. The Holy Spirit planned His entrance just right – at one of the largest feasts in the Jewish culture where all adult males were required to travel to Jerusalem from around the world. Everyone was in one spot, and everyone was focused around worshiping God. He came with rushing wind, tongues of fire, speech in a myriad of languages that arrest people’s attention so that Peter could speak. And 3000 were baptized.
Acts 1:8 gives us the outline of Acts: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
And as the book of Acts continues, the Holy Spirit partners with believers and the message grows and grows. And the gift of tongues is always the sign that a group has been accepted. Wisdom, power, faith, insight, movement…the Holy Spirit changed their way of thinking. Some people seemed to be more actively responsive to the Holy Spirit. Stephen had great wisdom, and was able to preach so that no one could oppose him. He caught a glimpse of heaven – seeing spiritually in the physical world. The theme of sight continued with Saul, an avid persecutor of this new start-up that opposed Jewish tradition. Jesus knocked him flat, and when Ananias was sent to him, God gave Paul both spiritual and physical sight with the coming of the Holy Spirit.
The Spirit directed believers to different places, showed them future events. People gained a different outlook, an ability to see reality from God’s perspective. Sight, insight, a Guide. And that’s how it all began 2000 years ago, this spreading, growing community of God-followers.
God, what a phenomenon! It really as a baptism by Your Spirit, starting with a rush on a select few, and quickly rippling out to those who already knew about You, and flooding over into different groups, and spreading out to the world. God, some people were equipped by You to use their natural abilities in powerful ways. So what about me? Will I listen? Will I try to work for my own gain? God, please help my eyes to be cleared, for me to look beyond today, this week, this year, this job, this lifestyle and world. There is more to live for! Please help me to see it. I love You! Amen.