Jesus promised to pour out his Holy Spirit on his Church. This sent ripples out to the ends of the earth.
Ripples on a pond pictures the Book of Acts.
The Spirit is poured out on the church on Pentecost (Acts 2), and this ripples through the entire population of Jerusalem. Thousands come to faith.
Persecution causes the Spirit to be poured out in Samaria (Acts 8).Questions arise. Can the Gospel be for Samaritans too? In answer, the Holy Spirit is poured out in a miraculous way on the Samaritans. The Spirit’s ripples continue outward.
A vision causes the Spirit to be poured out on the Gentiles (Acts 10). In today’s lesson (Acts 11:1-17), Peter is criticized for associating with Gentiles. Peter’s defense is that Holy Spirit came upon the Gentiles in a miraculous way, just as He had at Pentecost Acts 2. The Spirit’s ripples continue.
These miraculous outpourings of the Holy Spirit overcame obstacles that the early church faced, but can leave us with the question: “Has the Spirit come upon me? I don’t speak in tongues. I can’t do miracles.”
Not everyone in the early church could speak in tongues (see 1 Corinthians 12:27-31). Not everyone did miracles. Paul calls miracles proof of his apostleship (2 Corinthians 12:12). These miracles were signs to reassure the Church that the gospel is for all.
If you don’t see “miraculous” signs of the Spirit, how do you know these ripples of the Spirit have reached you?
- Know it by hearing the promise of the Spirit given to you in your baptism (Acts 2:38-39).
- Know it by the fact that “no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:3).
If you believe in Jesus, a miracle has happened. The powerful Holy Spirit has created your faith and is living in you to sustain your faith.
Our Old Testament lesson (Deuteronomy 29-30) reminds me of my part in letting the Spirit’s ripples continue through me to the next generation. "Now choose life, so that you and your children may live."
After the Spirit has worked the miracle of faith in us, we daily have the choice to choose life or death. The Spirit has worked in us an understanding of God’s will and the power to act. Our choices will have a ripple effect on the people around us and on generations to come.
Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit, kindle in me the fire of your love that burned so brightly in the hearts of your early church. Overcome every obstacle to the gospel, in my own heart and in the hearts of those around me. Bring us safely into the promised land of heaven. Amen.