Sharing Jesus is a team thing! While we may think evangelism a solo activity, it is actually done in tandem with the Holy Spirit. In fact, no matter how, when, or to whom you’re witnessing, the Lord is always with you. As Jesus taught the disciples just before He ascended into heaven:
“All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20).
As we learned from Acts 1:8, the disciples’ power to witness would come from the Holy Spirit.
Now in Acts 2, His promise comes to fruition as the Holy Spirit comes upon the disciples at Pentecost, also known as the Jewish feast of Shavuot (Leviticus 23:15-22):
“When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:1-4).
And what were the disciples saying in the power of the Spirit? ‘The wonderful works of God’ (Acts 2:13; see also Acts 10:46, ). And not only that, their testimony was uttered in the various languages of the multitudes, as Jewish people from all over the known who would have been in Jerusalem for the feast (Acts 2:5-6).
Yes, the birth of the church started off with a bang – shock and awe we might say! God working mightily in and through His people.
Additionally, we see this collaboration in God’s redemptive work later elucidated by the Apostle Paul as he addressed the church in Corinth:
“Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.” (2 Corinthians 5:18-20)
Though Paul addressed this letter to the church in Corinth, this ministry of reconciliation remains a priority for God’s people. And while we should have a heart that breaks for the lost, how much more the Lord’s heart for lost sinners – for He is ‘longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance’ (2 Peter 3:9; see also Matthew 9:35-38).
As the ‘wonderful works of God’ were uttered by those Spirit-filled believers in Acts 2, the goal and hope of that witness would result in people being reconciled to God. And what of the response?
The response to a powerful gospel witness will be polarizing: “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18).
Such was the case in Acts 2 and we’ll see in the entire book as we continue our studies. And such will be the case in your life and mine as we seek to share Jesus with others.
Polarization is illustrated as the initial response to the testimony of the disciples is confusion (Acts 2:6), amazement and perplexity (Acts 2:12). Some wanted to understand, while others responded mockingly: “They are full of new wine” (Acts 2:13).
Peter stands up and clarifies what’s happening (Acts 2:14-21), then proceeds to share the good news of Messiah Jesus (Acts 2:22-40) in the power of the Holy Spirit (see John 15:26).
For Peter’s power in that day is our power to witness today. As Peter spoke, God moved. You see, ultimately it is the power of the Holy Spirit that does the work of conviction, righteousness and judgement:
“Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.” (John 16:7-8).
People will respond to this conviction by rejecting it in unbelief, or responding to it in repentance.
When Stephen gave testimony in Acts 7, the people were ‘cut to the heart’ in Acts 7:54, reject the message and kill him (Acts 7:54-60)!
In response to Peter’s sermon here in Acts 2, when the people are ‘cut to the heart’ in, they want to know what to do! After Peter tells them to repent and be baptized, 3000 received the word with joy and were baptized (Acts 2:37-41)! Hallelujah. It’s important to note the Spirit also does the work of regeneration in the life of the repentant sinner who puts their faith in Christ:
“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit.” (Titus 3:5)
So be encouraged! Remember it is the Holy Spirit who is working and witnessing through us – for His glory and for the building of His Kingdom! For His work and His witness are awe-inspiring and worthy of our praise!
“For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.” Romans 11:36