Wouldn't you love to have seen the tongues of fire and heard the languages spoken at Pentecost? Wouldn't you thrill to see the lame man jumping for joy after Peter healed him? Wouldn't you live with more purpose and direction if you heard the voice of the Spirit the way it seems Paul did when Luke records Paul's travels and where he was led and not led by the Spirit?
And yet, here at the very beginning of the church...the very first invitation that was extended after Jesus ascended to heaven...is a promise that there is no mistaking whom it is for.
"The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off - for all whom the Lord our God will call."
Pay attention to that! There is no "Well if we just had what they had..." There can be no, "I would do better if only God gave me what He gave them..." God, through Peter, specifically spoke down through the centuries to make absolutely sure you would hear the message today...right now! The promise is for you!
It's incredible to me that with thousands of people who responded that day, God looked past the excitement of the day and inspired Peter to speak not just to the thronging crowd in front of him, but to their children and to all who are far off! Indeed to anyone whom God would call!
That's me! That's you if you've answered God's call!
So what is the promise?
"You will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit!"
We sometimes tend to focus on the front half of this passage. The part that we are supposed to do. Once we are convicted of the truth of God's message, what do we do? Peter says, repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of sins. We drill that...and with good reason. It's the only proper response of faith. But in focusing on what we are to do, let's not lose what God promises to do in addition to the fact that He already killed His Son....in addition to receiving the forgiveness of sins. That should be enough but God doesn't stop. The real promise is the gift of Himself! He gives us the gift of the Spirit!
There are entire books that try to cover what exactly that gift is. I can't, and won't, try to cover that here...you wouldn't keep reading if I did! But for now, I want you to meditate on the fact of the truth of the gift itself. I guarantee we could spend the rest of our earthly lives figuring out new things that the gift of the Spirit entails. How fun would it be to wake up every morning knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that because God has called me down through the ages, I can go through the day in possession of the gift of the Spirit!
I'd love to hear your thoughts on how that would change your day. What has the gift of the Spirit done for you? How have you seen it in your life? If you have no idea what the gift of the Spirit is, then I challenge you to spend the day...and the week...and the month...and the rest of your life pondering that question and learning! And then live with the love and the excitement and the thrill and the purpose and the joy that the early Church did because we have all been given the same gift of the Spirit.