mighty works and wonders and signs

  

Acts 2:22 (ESV)

22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— “

There it is again. The word: mighty.

It first popped up in the Book of Acts in reference to the coming of the Holy Spirt: ‘a mighty rushing wind’. (Ac 2:2)

Then in reference to the Holy Spirit testifying about God the Father: ‘the mighty works of God’. (Ac 2:11)

And now in reference to Jesus of Nazareth: the ‘mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him’. (Ac 2:22)

Turning water into wine. Healing the sick. Feeding the thousands. Calming raging storms. Raising the dead to life.

Yep. All of them seem mighty to me.

Interestingly they are all linked to God. They are divine works. And their purpose is to glorify God.

Although they all pale in comparison with Jesus Himself rising from the dead.

Now that’s mighty.

Kim+

prayer : thank you for your mighty works and wonders and signs that point us to your divinity

action : ‘Sing to the LORD, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples!’ (Ps 96:1-2)

everyone … shall be saved

Acts 2:21 (ESV)

21 “‘And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.'”

So what does it mean to ‘call upon the name of the Lord’?

If we turn to Paul in the Letter to the Romans we find: ‘… if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.’ (Rom 10:9)

Paul, too, then quotes Joel 2:32 saying ‘For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”‘ (Rom 10:13)

So it seems to me that it’s an acknowledgement that Jesus is Lord and a whole-hearted acceptance that He died and was raised to life by God.

Pretty straight-forward.

But so, so hard for many people to grasp a hold of. They would rather turn their back on Him; ignore Him; reject Him.

Yet the offer of salvation is to everyone.

There’s no select group. No elite inner circle. Simply a universal offer to ‘all nations’. (Matt 28:19)

Everyone.

Kim+

prayer : thank you that hold out to everyone the offer of salvation

action : help me to tell everyone I know that Jesus Christ is my Lord and Saviour

amazed and astonished

  

Acts 2:5-13 (ESV)

5 Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. 6  And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. 7  And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8  And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? 9  Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10  Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, 11  both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.” 12  And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13  But others mocking said, “They are filled with new wine.”


Bewildered. Amazed. Astonished. Perplexed. 

Clearly something is going on here that those seeing it and hearing it cannot easily explain.

Yet Peter understands full well what is happening. Because it’s a fulfilment of prophecy from the Book of Joel. (Ac 2:16)

Although Paul talks about believers being ‘baptized into one body’ (1Co 12:13) the suggestion here is that this is a special occasion.

That the blessing of the Holy Spirit at this time is not general but specific.

And what an amazing and astonishing thing to behold.

For the ‘mighty works of God’ were being extolled. (v.11)

Interesting that many believed yet some were ‘mocking’. (v.13)

Kim+

prayer : help those of unbelief to be amazed and astonished at the ‘mighty works of God’

action : help me to faithfully extol and explain  the ‘mighty works of God’ to friends & family

a mighty rushing wind

 

Acts 2:1-4 (ESV)

1 When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. 2  And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.

The coming of the Holy Spirit on this occasion was unlike anything before. Yet it has distinct similarities with the Creation account in the Book of Genesis.

There, the ‘Spirit of God’ (Gen 1:2) can also be translated as His breath; His very life-giving force.

How great it is that God breathes life into us.

For not only did He create us as we were ‘wonderfully made’ in our ‘mother’s womb’. (Ps 139:13-14)

But better still, when we ‘repent’ and are ‘baptized’, we are promised the ‘gift of the Holy Spirit’. (Ac 2:38)

Thus we are ‘a new creation’. (2Cor 5:17)

We ‘walk in newness of life’. (Rom 6:3)

We have the promise of ‘eternal life’. (Jn 10:28)

Kim+

prayer : thank you for the gift of life – physical & spiritual

action : ‘present [myself] to God as [one] who [has] been brought from death to life, and [my] members to God as instruments for righteousness’ (Rom 6:13)

to the end of the earth

Acts 1:6-8 (ESV)

6 So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. 8 “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.”

 

No limits. Without borders.

As disciples of Christ we are called to “go therefore and make disciples of all nations, …” (Matt 28:19 | emphasis added).

It’s no small task.

In fact it’s ridiculous to think that we can do it on our own.

Hence the need for God’s Holy Spirit. To teach us; guide us; strengthen us.

And the support & encouragement – the prayer & fellowship – of the church community.

As ‘witnesses’ we are to tell it like it is. No embellishments; no fancy language; no bells & whistles.

It’s the role of the Holy Spirit to convict people. He gets the credit for their conversion. He takes responsibility for how the message is received.

Yet we are still very much involved. It’s not enough to think about it or talk about it or even plan it.

We need to do it.

But what a blessed relief that God is in control. We can hand over to Him the hard stuff and simply get on with the task at hand: bearing ‘witness’.

Kim+

prayer : thank you for the gift of the Holy Spirit; please give me the strength I need to witness

action : be ‘… prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, …’ (1Pe 3:15)

you will receive power

Acts 1:6-8 (ESV)

6 So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. 8 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.”

 

We live in a world where many chase after the allure of power.

Yet it’s an illusion. A folly. ‘… [A] striving after wind.’ (Ecc 4:16)

It may last for a day; a week; a year. Perhaps even a lifetime. But with death will come the loss of all one’s power.

For it is God who has all the strength.

And we are called to ‘… ascribe to the LORD glory and strength!’ (Ps 96:7). That is, acknowledge that He is the one and only God (Ex 20:3); ‘… the Lord God Almighty, …’ (Rev 4:8).

And, recognise that we need His strength to sustain us and empower us. “‘… [The] Spirit helps us in our weakness.’ (Rom 8:26)

It’s this trusting completely in God and all that He provides that truly glorifies Him.

Kim+

prayer : thank you for the gift of the Holy Spirit; please give me the strength I need to witness

action : ‘I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the LORD GOD is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation.’ (Isa 12:2)

wait for the promise

Acts 1:1-5 (ESV)

1 In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, 2 until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. 3 He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. 4 And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said,  “you heard from me; 5  for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

 

How easy it is for us to become impatient. I know I don’t enjoy waiting for something even when I’m assured it’s worth the wait.

But what could be more precious than the promise of the Holy Spirit?

For deep down we know that we cannot live God’s way without His help.

Thankfully that help comes in the form of the Holy Spirit. Given to all believers as a guarantee of our inheritance (Eph 1:13).

And, as followers of Christ, we need not wait for this wonderful gift. For we receive it as soon as we repent & believe.

Instead, we must patiently await the return of Christ (1Th 4:13).

Kim+

prayer : thank you for the gift of the Holy Spirit; help me to be patient as I wait for your return, O Lord

action : ‘Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.’ (Rom 12:12)