What does it say?
Acts is actually volume two of Luke’s Gospel (1:1-4). Luke picks up the story with Jesus’ last words to his disciples before his ascension to heaven. Jesus confirms both the promise of his return and his commission to his disciples. He instructs them to wait in Jerusalem for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
Acts 2 is the amazing account of the Holy Spirit indwelling believers on the day of Pentecost. The eleven proclaim the Gospel publicly and Peter takes the lead preaching a powerful sermon that results in some 3,000 coming to faith in Christ.
Just as healing and teaching formed the core of Jesus’ ministry, so Acts 3 records the miraculous healing by Peter and John of a man crippled from birth and was accustomed to beg at the temple gate. The healing gives opportunity for another public sermon by Peter to the assembled multitude.
What does it mean?
Jesus makes it clear in Acts 1 that the priority is not to know the time of his return, but rather to be witnesses to him in the entire world. The priority of the disciple of Jesus Christ has not changed in these 2,000 years. His disciples are Galileans and speak with a noticeable accent, so Jerusalem is probably the most dangerous place for them to be. Jerusalem, though, is strategic to the mission and Jesus instructs them to remain there until they have been filled with the Holy Spirit. Without the indwelling Spirit of God, they (and us) are powerless to carry out the mission.
The mission takes center stage as the Holy Spirit indwells and empowers the disciples in Acts 2. There can be no coincidence that the very first time the Gospel is preached in the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, it is supernaturally preached in no fewer than 16 languages by men who do not naturally speak those languages, and they are preaching not in their home area, but in the place revealed to them by Jesus to be strategic at this historical moment in the advance of his mission. Pentecost is the birthday of the church, encased in supernatural power, and is the prototype for what should be our focus to this day.
How will I respond?
God may never give me the capacity to supernaturally preach in a language I have never learned or to heal a person crippled from birth, but does my life reflect the power of the Holy Spirit? Does God use me to bring healing and eternal life to others? What specifically can I apply to my life from these chapters?