A Bible reading: Acts 2:17-18, 38-39
In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy.
Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, for all whom the Lord our God will call.
Imagine a child on Christmas day coming downstairs and seeing lots of presents under the Christmas tree, but one present is really big; much bigger than all the other presents. The child wonders who that special present might be for and hopes that maybe, possibly, even though there are many other people in the family, that present might actually be for them. Imagine then their excitement when they discover that the big present has their name on it, and that they are allowed to open it!
I think this picture gives us an image of what it is to receive God's gift to us of his Holy Spirit. A couple of days ago I wrote about Jesus describing the Holy Spirit as a good gift that God gives to those who ask him. Today’s verses tell us that this good gift is all-inclusive. These are words from Peter’s speech to the crowds in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost, a crowd that was made up of people from all around the known world: Europeans, Africans, Asians, Arabs and Jews. As well as being for all ethnic groups, Peter is saying that the gift of the Holy Spirit is for the young and old, male and female, slave and free. Not only that, but the gift is also for their children and for all who are far off, a phrase that extends God’s good gift throughout time and history to be available for us today.
God wants to pour out his Spirit on his Church today in order to encourage, to equip and to empower the church to be an effective witness in today’s world. The vision is worldwide, but the gift is personal.
The promise of God’s Holy Spirit is for you, it is a gift, and like any gift we need to receive it, we need to open it, and we need to use it.
Lord Jesus, I thank you that when you returned to heaven you left us neither comfortless or powerless, but you sent us your Holy Spirit, a gift with my name on it. I receive your gift afresh today. Equip me, empower me and encourage me as I seek to serve you in your world today.