The Holy Spirit Introduces Himself
Acts records an exciting period in the life of the church. It is obvious that Luke saw the Spirit as living and active, as the missional emphasis of the Holy Spirit’s ministry is seen distinctly in Acts. The book is organized by the four major outpourings of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2, 8, 10-11, and 19), in which the Spirit came to people in a spectacular manner. Each of these instances represents the introduction of the Holy Spirit to a different group of people. In Acts 2, one hundred twenty Jewish believers are filled with the Holy Spirit. In Acts 8, Samaritans—considered by Jews to be racial half-breeds—are filled with the Spirit after they believed the gospel preached by Philip. In Acts 10 and 11, Peter preached to Gentiles, and they believe and are filled with the Spirit. In Acts 19, Paul meets some followers of John the Baptist who didn’t even know what Jesus did and taught. They believe and are filled.
World Wide Mercy
What we see in Acts is the ever-expanding scope of the gospel. There is a wideness to God’s mercy. The Spirit’s ministry is expansive, just as Jesus’ was—including those who previously were excluded. The missional focus of Acts can be pictured by expanding concentric circles—the Holy Spirit brings Jesus’ good news to a small group of disciples, to one hundred twenty Jews, to the Samaritans, to Gentiles, and to the entire world. He illuminated and inspired the church. What we see in Acts is that Luke is not offering a paradigm for personal or individual experience. Rather, Luke is occupied with accounting for the gospel’s missional movement geographically, racially, and theologically. To Be Continued.