Story of Hope


Chapter 10 - The Power

When Jesus opened the understanding of the disciples to the meaning of the prophecies about Himself, He assured them that all power was given Him in heaven and on earth, and He told them to go and preach the gospel to every creature. With a sudden revival of their old hope that Jesus would take His place on the throne of David at Jerusalem, the disciples asked Him, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” Acts 1:6. The Savior left them uncertain about this by replying that it was not for them “to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.” Acts 1:7. SH 83.1

The disciples began to hope that the wonderful descent of the Holy Spirit would influence the Jewish people to accept Jesus. The Savior declined to explain further, for He knew that when the Holy Spirit would come on them in full measure, their minds would be illuminated. They would fully understand the work before them and take it up just where He had left it. SH 83.2

The disciples assembled in the upper room, uniting in prayer with the believing women, with Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers. These brothers, who had been unbelieving, were now fully established in their faith by the scenes attending the crucifixion and by the resurrection and ascension of the Lord. The number assembled was about one hundred twenty. SH 83.3

The Descent of the Holy Spirit—“When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they SH 83.4

This chapter is based on Acts 2.

were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” The Holy Spirit, taking the form of tongues of fire divided at the tips and resting on the assembled group, was a sign of the gift bestowed on them of speaking fluently several different languages that they had not known before. And the appearance of fire signified the fervent zeal with which they would labor and the power that would accompany their words. SH 84.1

Under this heavenly illumination, the scriptures that Christ had explained to them stood out in their minds with the vivid luster and loveliness of clear and powerful truth. The veil that had prevented them from seeing what Christ had abolished was now removed, and they understood the object of Christ’s mission and the nature of His kingdom with perfect clearness. SH 84.2

In the Power of Pentecost—The Jews had been scattered to almost every nation, and they spoke various languages. They had come long distances to Jerusalem and were staying there temporarily for the religious festivals then in progress and to fulfill their requirements. The worshipers assembled there were of every known tongue. This diversity of languages was a great obstacle to the labors of God’s servants in spreading the doctrine of Christ to the farthest parts of the earth. But God filled the need of the apostles in a miraculous way, and to the people this most perfectly confirmed the testimony of these witnesses for Christ. The Holy Spirit had done for them what they could not have accomplished for themselves in a lifetime. Now they could spread the truth of the gospel far and wide, speaking with accuracy the language of those for whom they were ministering. This miraculous gift was the highest evidence they could present to the world that their commission bore the approval of Heaven. SH 84.3

“And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven. And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language. Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, ‘Look, are not all these who speak Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born?” SH 84.4

The priests and rulers were greatly enraged at this amazing development, which was reported throughout all Jerusalem and the vicinity. Yet they did not dare to act on their evil intentions for fear of exposing themselves to the hatred of the people. They had put the Master to death, but here were His servants, uneducated men from Galilee, outlining the astonishing fulfillment of prophecy and teaching the doctrine of Jesus in all the languages then spoken. They spoke with power of the Saviors wonderful works and opened to their hearers the plan of salvation in the mercy and sacrifice of the Son of God. Their words convicted and converted thousands who listened. The traditions and superstitions that the priests taught were swept away from their minds, and they accepted the pure teachings of the Word of God. SH 85.1

Peter’s Sermon—Peter showed them that what they were seeing was the direct fulfillment of the prophecy of Joel, in which he foretold that such power would come upon people of God to fit them for a special work. SH 85.2

Peter traced the ancestry of Christ in a direct line back to the honorable house of David. He did not use any of the teachings of Jesus to prove His true position, because he knew their prejudices were so great that it would be of no effect. But he referred them to David, whom the Jews regarded as a highly respected patriarch of their nation. Peter said: SH 85.3

“For David says concerning Him: ‘I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for He is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken. Therefore my heart rejoiced, and my tongue was glad; moreover my flesh also will rest in hope. For You will not leave my soul in Hades, nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.’ ” SH 85.4

Here Peter shows that David could not have spoken about himself, but definitely of Jesus Christ. David died a natural death like other people. His tomb, with the honored dust it contained, had been preserved with great care until that time. As king of Israel and also as a prophet, David had been specially honored by God. In prophetic vision God showed him the future life and ministry of Christ. He saw His rejection, His trial, crucifixion, burial, resurrection, and ascension. SH 85.5

David testified that the soul of Christ was not to be left in Hades (the grave), nor was His flesh to see corruption. Peter showed that Jesus of Nazareth fulfilled this prophecy. God had actually raised Him up from the tomb before His body saw decay. He was now the exalted One in the highest heavens. SH 86.1

On that memorable occasion, large numbers who until then had ridiculed the idea of so humble a person as Jesus being the Son of God became thoroughly convinced of the truth and acknowledged Him as their Savior. Three thousand people were added to the church. The apostles spoke by the power of the Holy Spirit, and no one could argue with their words. Their messages were confirmed by mighty miracles, which they did through the outpouring of the Spirit of God. The disciples themselves were astonished at the results of this display of Gods power and the quick and large harvest of believers. All the people were filled with amazement. Those who did not yield their prejudice and bigotry were so overawed that they did not dare to try to stop the mighty work, whether by voice or violence, and their opposition ended for the time being. SH 86.2

The arguments of the apostles alone, clear and convincing as they were, would not have removed the prejudice of the Jews that had withstood so much evidence. But the Holy Spirit sent those arguments home to their hearts with divine power. They were like sharp arrows of the Almighty, convicting them of their terrible guilt in rejecting and crucifying the Lord of glory. “Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, ‘Men and brethren, what shall we do?’ Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’ ” SH 86.3

Peter urged upon the convicted people the fact that they had rejected Christ because they had been deceived by the priests and rulers. If they continued to look to them for counsel and waited for those leaders to acknowledge Christ before they dared to do so, they would never accept Him. Although those powerful men made a profession of sanctity, they were ambitious and zealous for riches and earthly glory. They would never come to Christ to receive light. Jesus had foretold a terrible punishment to come upon that people for their obstinate unbelief, in spite of the most powerful evidences given them that Jesus was the Son of God. SH 87.1

From this time onward, the language of the disciples was pure, simple, and accurate in word and accent, whether they spoke their native tongue or a foreign language. These humble men, who had never studied in the school of the prophets, presented truths so elevated and pure as to astonish those who heard them. They could not go personally to the ends of the earth, but there were people at the feast from every quarter of the world, and they carried the truths they received to their various homes and spread them among their people, winning converts to Christ. SH 87.2

A Lesson for Our Day—We have this testimony about the establishment of the Christian church not only as an important portion of sacred history but also as a lesson. All who profess the name of Christ should be waiting, watching, and praying with one heart. We should put away all differences and let unity and tender love one for another pervade everything. Then our prayers can go up together to our heavenly Father with strong, earnest faith. Then we may wait for the fulfillment of the promise with patience and hope. SH 87.3

The answer may come with sudden speed and overpowering might, or it may be delayed for days and weeks, and our faith be tested. But God knows how and when to answer our prayer. It is our part of the work to put ourselves in connection with the divine channel. God is responsible for His part of the work. He who has promised is faithful. The great and important matter with us is to be of one heart and mind, putting aside all envy and malice, and, as humble people of prayer, to watch and wait. Jesus, our Representative and Head, is ready to do for us what He did for the praying, watching ones on the day of Pentecost. SH 87.4