While Peter was still saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word. 45 And the believers from among the circumcised who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out even on the Gentiles. 46 For they were hearing them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter declared, 47 “Can anyone withhold water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” 48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to remain for some days.
The Spirit Falls
The passivity of being a follower of God comes through clearly in this passage. The Spirit is active, but a person has to do very little to be fallen upon. Those watching are amazed at the Spirit’s affects on the Gentiles who have found Jesus. Again passivity is emphasized when the Holy Spirit is called a gift. Of course, a person must receive what they are given but the initiative rests with the giver. They hold the power in the interaction.
I crave for the Holy Spirit to descend upon me. However, I think I am so active that I provide a moving target for Him to fall upon. I am either motivated or guilted from moving from one project to another and find it hard to find the time or the motivation to sit still and let the Holy Spirit descend. I sometimes blame it on having small children who need constant attention or a wife who takes on more than she can chew. However, if I blame others for the problems in my life I will just continue life as normal. I have created my own issues by my own choices. I can choose to be still. I can rearrange my day and my life. In remaining both spiritually and physically rooted, the Spirit can descend on me and lead to more mindful and meaningful use of my time.
Father, let me know the power of your Holy Spirit in my living today. Heal my mind, body, and spirit and let me walk forward in wholeness. I pray for those with whom I live. may they receive your power communicated through these jars of clay. I long for something more – I long for more of you. I was created for this.
- What obstacles has Peter overcome?
- How is passive acceptance reinforced in this passage?
- Why might a person refuse a free gift which they only have to receive?
- When have you known the Holy Spirit to fall?
- Pray for a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
This passage reminds me of an old friend of mine. I had the honor of spending a year in Beirut, Lebanon. While I was there I met a worker that had a heart for a people group there like none other I have ever seen. He told me that when he first had met them, he noticed how poorly they were treated, much more poorly than anybody else that he had seen there. He realized that they did not speak Arabic, so he began to study Turkish, the language that he thought they spoke. After learning Turkish, he realized that, although similar, it was not the right language. He repeated this process about 6 times before realizing that the language they speak is an extinct form of Turkish. By this point he had learned enough where he could understand them, however, he was not actually able to study what they spoke. So he learned their language by being with them. He would give them some basic medical attention, such as stitching up wounds, caring for rashes, and pulling teeth, even though he to this day does not have a high school degree. Because of his care for them, he has been accepted to spend time with them, this is something that they have not done with anybody else before.
My friend overcame many challenges, like Peter, and was welcomed. In reflecting on his life, my friend said that there is no way he would have taken the time and done all the work if it were not for the Holy Spirit guiding him and empowering him. The missionary life is a constant struggle, and it never actually gets easier. However, God has always remained faithful!