January 8, 2012
The Prophet Joel ministered in Israel hundreds of years (possibly close to a thousand) before the coming of the Messiah. His most famous prophecy, however, would predict what would happen in the days after Jesus’ ascension back to the Father. He wrote about the coming of the Holy Spirit and the effect that this event would have on humanity.
Joel, quoting the Lord, pens, “‘And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days’” (Joel 2:28-29). This Jewish prophet proclaimed the coming of the One who would bring the power and fire to believers in the last days.
Here is the fulfillment of that prophecy. Luke writes, “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them” (Acts 2:1- 4). Jesus told His followers to wait in Jerusalem, after His ascension, for the Holy Spirit. And by their obedience, they were all filled, and the Church of Jesus Christ began on that glorious day.
Some would say, however, that the Baptism of the Holy Spirit was for the 1st century church only, and that it has no meaning for today. That could not be farther from the truth. The Lord wants every believer to be filled with His Spirit. Yes, when we are saved, we are given a “measure” of the Spirit. But we are not “filled.” I guess I would compare salvation and the Baptism in the Spirit to placing one’s toe in a swimming pool versus diving in headfirst. It is for us today. John the Baptist, speaking of Jesus, said, “‘I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit’” (Mark 1:8). Joel’s prophecy is being fulfilled right now. The growth in Christianity, throughout the world, is coming in Spirit-filled, charismatic and Pentecostal communities. And the reason we are to be filled with the Spirit is that we might have the power, ability and desire to share the Gospel of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. So what I say to one, I say to all, “Be filled with the Spirit.”
THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.