In Acts 2, in the sermon preached on the day of Pentecost, Peter quoted three Old Testament prophecies: Joel 2:28-32 regarding the outpouring of the Spirit, Psalm 16:8-11 regarding the resurrection of Christ, and Psalm 110:1 regarding the exaltation of Christ. The point he makes is that the outpouring of the Spirit of Jesus proves both the resurrection and exaltation of Jesus. But why and how is this so? Peter addresses the issue, twice employing the word “this” to convey his meaning.
After Peter refutes the charge of drunkenness leveled by mockers in the crowd, he begins at verse 16 to explain how the disciples were speaking as the Spirit gave them utterance:
“But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh.”
This, the outpouring of the Spirit, is the spiritual, powerful manifestation of the presence of God (cf. Ezek. 39:29). It is God filling the atmosphere with His life. We know God is omnipresent, but this matter of His manifest presence is something more. Not evident in a visible, physical way but expressed in the spiritual realm, His manifest presence is real, and people in the world are made aware of that which physical eyes cannot see. So how could this outpouring of the Spirit prove the resurrection and exaltation of Christ? To explain, Peter introduces a second “this.”
Peter connects the outpouring with the resurrection and the exaltation in 2:32-33,
“This Jesus hath God raised up (the resurrection), whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore, being by the right hand of God exalted (the exaltation), and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth (lit. poured out/the outpouring) this, which ye now see and hear.”
This outpouring was neither visible or audible, yet Peter speaks to the crowd of seeing and hearing in a physical sense. How could they “see and hear” the outpouring of the Spirit? By observing the results; by considering what the outpouring produced.
This outpouring of the Spirit allowed for the infilling of the praying believers, and this produced witnessing believers ablaze with the power of the Holy Spirit. “And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak…the wonderful works of God” (Acts 2:4-11). Spirit-filled believers proved the outpouring of the Spirit, and the outpouring proved that Jesus had been raised and exalted to the throne where He received the promise of the Holy Ghost and then sent the Spirit. Christ could not send the Holy Spirit and launch a new dispensation until He had finished His work at the cross and had been raised from the dead and enthroned at the right hand of the Majesty on high.
The outpouring proves that Jesus rose again and reigns above! And the effect of the outpouring is ultimately Spirit-empowered believers who cannot help but speak the wonderful works of God. Spirit-filled, Spirit-empowered believers reveal the living Savior. Christ is flowing out through them to others, and it is this dynamic that proves that Jesus is alive. As the Spirit overflows the witnessing believers, people not only hear the message of Jesus, they spiritually see and hear the Jesus of the message. The invisible and the visible work together to show Jesus rose again and reigns above.
Several years ago, some friends of mine visited China. For three weeks they faithfully witnessed to their atheistic guide. Finally, the guide asked how did they know their Jesus wasn’t just the American version of the Chinese Confucius? My friend replied, “Because Jesus rose from the dead!” Great response! The atheist guide then asked, “How do you know?” Fair question! While many infidels have attempted to disprove the resurrection, and yet have been converted in the process, this conversation developed uniquely. The atheist commented that when the tour group first met together, she was somehow drawn to them. My friend’s wife immediately interjected that if she was drawn especially to them, there was nothing in and of themselves to draw her. Rather, she was being drawn to Jesus who lives in them—and that’s how she could know Jesus arose! After pausing she replied, “I believe you. Fifteen years ago, there was another born again Christian in my group, and the same look that was in her eyes, I see in your eyes.”
Christ sent the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost and the Holy Spirit has not been called back. However, it is quite possible to be unaware of the presence of God. When this is the case, we need God to manifest His presence—pour out His Spirit—again. The first outpouring produced witnessing believers on fire for God. There was another outpouring in Acts 4 fueling more Spirit-filled witness, and so forth throughout the book of Acts. When God manifests His presence, whether corporately or individually, truth comes alive, and through this revelation of Jesus, the living Word, believers by faith are empowered to speak the wonderful works of God. As believers then experience Jesus, Christ living in them shines forth through them. This dynamic shows a lost world that Jesus is alive! May we all look to the Lord for another “this”!
John Van Gelderen
About This Blog
Hello, I’m John Van Gelderen. I am an evangelist and the president of Revival Focus Ministries, an organization for the cause of revival in hearts, homes, churches, and beyond, and for evangelizing. This blog is focused on experiencing Jesus. I believe in order to really live, you must access and experience the very life of Jesus Christ.