Exalted to the right hand of God, He has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. – Acts 2:33
As Jesus had promised, the Father empowered the disciples with the Holy Spirit. Only Jesus Christ has the power to pour God’s Spirit into people’s lives. Christians receive the Spirit and call others to accept Christ. We have been commissioned to witness about Christ to the world and are dependent on the Spirit’s power to accomplish this task.
To be “exalted” is to be lifted up by another. Jesus did not place Himself at God’s right hand. Paul explains that He didn’t try to take God’s position or glory. He humbled Himself to the point of death in the most humiliating, dishonouring way. It was God who exalted Jesus.
In Peter’s powerful sermon on the day of Pentecost, he declared that Jesus had not only been raised from the dead, but that He had been exalted to the right hand of God – the highest position of honour in the universe. Because of His exaltation, God ‘gave’ the Holy Spirit to Jesus, who now poured out the Holy Spirit on the disciples.
We will celebrate the day of Pentecost on Sunday 28th May, 2023 and I pray that we will find this article relevant.
PETER ADDRESSES THE CROWD
Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say.
These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: “‘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.
I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’
“Fellow Israelites, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross.
But God raised Him from the dead, freeing Him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on Him. David said about Him: “‘I saw the Lord always before me. Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest in hope, because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, you will not let your holy one see decay. You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.’
“Fellow Israelites, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne.
Seeing what was to come, he spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, that he was not abandoned to the realm of the dead, nor did his body see decay. God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it.
Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear.
For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said, “‘The Lord said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.”’ “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.” – ACTS 2:1-36
Note that Peter referred to “the promised Holy Spirit”. The reference goes back to the words of Jesus in Acts 1:4-8: On one occasion, while He was eating with them, He gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
Then they gathered around Him and asked Him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by His own authority.
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”, and even farther back to the prophecy of John the Baptist in Mark 1:8: I baptize you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”.
Ultimately it stretches back hundreds of years to the new covenant God promised Israel in Jeremiah 31:31-24: The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah.
Dwelling in our hearts today by faith alone, this Holy Spirit unites us with Christ in His death and resurrection. He who was born, who ministered, gave His life, rose, and ascended – He is the one who walks with us and empowers us by His Holy Spirit. He unites our life to his.
Our fears and struggles and weaknesses will surely always overcome us unless we have received and rely upon the outpoured Holy Spirit.
The courage of Peter to preach among the enemies of Christ must also be ours as we witness in this world. We serve a higher power, the highest power, a king whose power unites heaven and earth together for us.
Though we are on earth he enables us to act as those united to heaven. He makes us fearless followers of his and powerful workers in his kingdom. We should know Christ as our exalted King because He has poured out His Spirit on us. He will enable us to live for Him courageously and to speak of Him graciously and powerfully.
What was promised has now arrived. Is it possible that we have taken the Holy Spirit for granted? Has our spiritual bounty made us ungrateful to God? The great news is this – Pentecost is past. The Holy Spirit has come. Let the people of God rejoice.
Father when I am ungrateful, remind me what life would be like without Your Spirit. Amen.
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