The Promise of the Spirit

The Spirit Poured Out on All Who Believe

“The Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who repent of their sins,” declares the Lord. “As for me, this is my covenant with them,” says the Lord. “My Spirit, who is on you, will not depart from you, and my words that I have put in your mouth will always be on your lips, on the lips of your children and on the lips of their descendants—from this time on and forever,” says the Lord. Isaiah 59:20-21

When we read of the Spirit in the Old Testament, we see him coming upon people for specific tasks. For example, he empowered Bezalel (Exodus 31:1-5), Saul (1 Samuel 10:6-7), and David (1 Samuel 16:13).

But then God promised through his prophets that a change was coming: The Spirit would come upon believers, but he’d not depart—not ever (Isaiah 59:20-21). Furthermore, this promise would be available for all people, not just for Israel—male and female, young and old, rich and poor (Joel 2:28-29).

Later, Jesus promised that being filled with the Spirit would be like receiving living water, a bubbling spring welling up to eternal life (John 4:13-14). The Spirit would enable believers to worship in Spirit and in truth (John 4:23-24). 

Jesus promised his disciples that they wouldn’t be left as orphans. The Spirit would be another advocate just as he’d been an advocate for them. Moreover, Jesus would come to them by way of the Spirit, and the Spirit would teach them, reminding them of everything Jesus had said (John 14:18, 26).

Jesus ascended not long after he spoke these words. And the promise was fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost, ten days later. The Spirit was poured out on the apostles when “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).

In explaining what had happened, Peter referred to the prophecy of Joel (Acts 2:14-18). He added what the onlookers couldn’t see, “God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it. Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear” (Acts 2:32-33).

The promise of the Spirit is for you too. Have you seen evidence of his presence in your life?

Nancy J. Baker

Dig Deeper

Read Ephesians 1:13-14. How does Paul describe the Holy Spirit? What is the promise is to all who believe? What does this mean to you?

Read Ezekiel 36:26-27. What does the prophet promise will happen when the Spirit is put in a believer? How would you describe your heart?

See a fuller description of Peter’s response to the outpouring of the Spirit on Pentecost in the devotion: Filled with the Spirit.

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