Terry R. Baughman
“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” (Acts 2:17–18).
Among the crowd assembled in the upper room were men and women, old and young. Little did they realize the importance of the diversity of this group that waited in anticipation of what was to come. This was not lost on Peter when he stood up to address the crowd that gathered when the Spirit baptism spilled out of the upper room and into the outdoor courtyard of the Temple in Jerusalem. He said, “This is what was spoken by the prophet Joel” (Acts 2:16 and above). As he quoted from the words of the prophet, the prediction included sons, daughters, young, old, male and female servants; … all were to be filled with the Holy Spirit. The ancient prophecy was fulfilled before their eyes and Peter recognized it as the sovereign move of God in their generation.
Jesus’ own mother, along with other women, were waiting in the upper room for the fulfillment of the promise Jesus left with them. Perhaps she recalled the cryptic words, “Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high” (Luke 24:49).
Jesus’ final words contained a commission and a command. The commission was, “Go therefore and make disciples, preach the gospel to every creature” (Matthew 28:19; Mark 16:15). His promise was, “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you;” and His command was, “You shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
The power demonstration was always conjoined with the expectation of expansion, “be witness to me,” “teach all nations,” “preach to every creature.” There is no limit to the reach of the Gospel and no qualification to those who would embrace the promise, other than faith. The promise was always given to faith-filled followers. Mark said, “These signs will follow those who believe” (Mark 16:17).
The promise was all inclusive. Before the Book of Acts was closed there were notable outpourings of the Spirit on the Samaritans, the Gentiles in Cornelius’ household, and then to people in other places throughout the Mideast and beyond. The prophetic words of Peter brought greater and more rapid expansion than had ever been imagined, “For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call” (Acts 2:39). The promise to those “afar off” grew greater than the promise to “your children,” as multitudes of Gentiles responded positively to the preaching of the Gospel of Christ. Paul and Barnabas were embraced by the Gentiles of Antioch in Pisidia. They expressed their calling and commission from the Lord Jesus, “I have set you as a light to the Gentiles, That you should be for salvation to the ends of the earth.” There was a joyous response, “When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of the Lord” (Acts 13:47–48).
From the beginning of the church age and the initial outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost there has been an indiscriminate and pervasive promise to all who come to faith in Christ Jesus. The Gospel has been proclaimed to the far-reaches of civilization and has found acceptance by many in every nation. Jesus predicted, “This gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations” (Matthew 24:14).
The Gospel is still being preached. The promise of the Holy Spirit is continually proclaimed. This promise is still for ALL.
“When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, … 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).