Bible Society of South Africa

The baptism of the Holy Spirit – 10 May 2021

By Carina Francke

Bible text(s)

5John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

Mk 16.19–20Lk 24.50–53

Mt 27.3–10

You raise your eyebrows when, every so often, the leader of your team drops a hint that he will not be with the team much longer. When he later passes a remark that his successor will be of greater value to the team, your pursed lips divulge your dismay. You shake your head when he says that his successor will be able to maximise every team member’s potential and that he will permanently be with you. He will lead the team and teach them everything necessary: knowledge, insight and skills that promise untold benefits for the team and every individual. Now you all wait. The only thing that you are sure of is that he is on his way.

Before Jesus’ death, He conveys a similar message to his disciples at various gatherings. He warns them that He must go away, but that He will not leave them alone. “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you for ever – the Spirit of truth.” (John14:16) After his resurrection, He confirms the promise, but urges them not to leave Jerusalem but to wait for the gift his Father promised: “For John baptised with water, but in a few days you will be baptised with the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 1:5)

On the day of Pentecost (10 days after the ascension), this group of believers gathered in the upper room when spectacular events occurred. A sound like the blowing of a violent wind suddenly filled the house where they were gathered. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on them. And then the unexpected, supernatural happened: “All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” (Acts 2:4)

Religious Jews of different nationalities heard how ordinary Galileans declared the wonders of God in all the different languages. Led by the Holy Spirit, the apostle Peter explained that what had happened, was the fulfilment of the prophecy spoken by the Old Testament prophet Joel, “I will pour out my Spirit on all people.” (Acts 2:17)

Unlike the team in our introduction, we, as a Christ-believing team, need not wait on a leader to maximise our potential any more. God already sent the Holy Spirit to live in every believer and to be with us – every moment of every day! And just in case you doubt this truth, let the Word speak for itself: “The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off.” (Acts 2:39)

Prayer: Father, thank you that every promise You make, including the one on the outpouring of the power of the Holy Spirit, will be for ever true. Amen

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