God’s Power At Work
2,000 years ago, a miraculous, momentous event occurred. On the day of Pentecost a truly dramatic event occurred in Jerusalem. The promised Spirit of the living God Yehovah was poured out upon the disciples of His anointed one Jesus as he had promised.
(John 14:16-17; John 14:26; John 15:26; John 16:7-14; Acts 1:4-5; Acts 1:8).
What was the Spirit that came on the followers of God’s anointed one Jesus on that day? Why did these things happen? What should we learn from those strange occurrences?
Concepts of “spirit”
We must first consider the word spirit as it is used in the Bible. Just what is spirit and what does that word mean?
The other two words are the Hebrew ruach and the Greek pneuma, each used several hundred times. Understanding these words is crucial to understanding the Holy Spirit.
The concepts of “wind,” “breath” and “spirit” were all related in biblical thought and language.
We see the same connection between spirit, breath and wind continued in the New Testament. Although the Greek language (unlike the Hebrew) has a different word for wind ( anemos ), pneuma and its related verb pneo are translated “breath” (2 Thessalonians 2:8; Revelation 11:11), “wind” (John 3:8; Acts 27:40) and “blow” (Luke 12:55).
Earlier he had told them he would send them another “Helper” or “Comforter,” the Holy Spirit. Here he repeats that promise. He also demonstrates the nature of the Spirit that he would send: It would be like a breath, like a wind, something they couldn’t see, but they would be influenced by its power.
Dramatic evidence of God’s Spirit
In Acts 2 we read of the fulfillment of the promise that the Holy Spirit would come to Jesus’ followers: “When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place … And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit …” (Acts 2:1-4).
The Spirit of power at work
That Spirit enables Jesus’ followers to be like him, to have the same power available to us that Jesus had in him. Luke 4:14-15 describes that power at work in his ministry: “Then Jesus returned in the power [dunamis] of the Spirit to Galilee, and news of him went out through all the surrounding region. And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all.”
The Spirit of revelation
God’s Spirit provides another kind of power as well: “But as it is written: ‘Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.’ But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit… No one knows the things of God except [by] the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit [which] is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God” (1 Corinthians 2:9-12).
Continued understanding through the Spirit
Before His death Jesus told his disciples that this process would continue; that God’s Spirit would help them understand things they had never grasped before. He told them that He would leave, “but the Helper, the Holy Spirit, [which] the Father will send in My name, [it] will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you” (John 14:26).
Growth in understanding over time
Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would “teach [His disciples] all things.” That process wasn’t instantaneous; it took place over years. They learned as they went, gradually coming to see and understand things they had never seen before.
God’s Spirit leads to change
God’s Spirit leads to transformation. Added spiritual understanding, revelation and power lead to something crucial in the lives of those given God’s Spirit = Change.
A great transformation
Paul talks about this transformation in Romans 8, again emphasizing the two ways to live: “For those who live according to the flesh [that is, corrupted human nature] set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, [set their minds on] the things of the Spirit.