"But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you shall be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth" (Acts 1:8).
The Greek word translated "power" in this verse is dunamis, from which we derive the English word "dynamite." Dunamis can be translated as "explosive strength, ability and power." The Holy Spirit is a gift giver extraordinaire, and He knows exactly what you need to make it through the storms of life.
As incredible as you are—because you have been made by God at this moment in history in order to live a significant and abundant life—you will be unable to accomplish anything at all without the Spirit's dunamis power. You have been especially created and redeemed to receive that power; dunamis is a perfect fit for your remarkable container.
The wonder of Acts 1:8 is found in the statements "You shall receive ..." and "You shall be ...." When you receive the power of the Holy Spirit, you become someone you could never be on your own. You need the power of the Spirit to enable you to walk in your calling and destiny in Christ. The Holy Spirit changes ordinary men and women into powerful witnesses for Christ and His kingdom. Dunamis changes wimps into witnesses and deniers into testifiers.
When the authorities arrested Jesus, all of His disciples ran scared. After Jesus' arrest, Peter denied Him three times. When Jesus was crucified, all the disciples except for John were absent. Yet after the Holy Spirit filled these fearful, intimidated men, it was said of them:
"These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also" (Acts 17:6b).
The power of Pentecost was never meant to be a one-time spiritual high but a new way of knowing God, living for God, serving God and being filled with God!
When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like a mighty rushing wind came from heaven, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. There appeared to them tongues as of fire, being distributed and resting on each of them, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to speak (Acts 2:1-4).
Isn't it interesting that the sound of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost is described as "a violent rushing wind"? That sound must have been tremendous! Although I have never heard the roar of a tornado, I have heard it likened to the sound of a fighter jet taking off or a huge freight train coming down the tracks. The mighty sound heard by the believers who were gathered in the upper room was loud enough, unusual enough and perhaps terrifying enough that people in the surrounding area began to gather to find out what was going on.
The dunamis force of heaven had interrupted the disciples' formerly calm prayer meeting! The energy of heaven had broken loose around them, and the power of heaven was in their midst. They were walking in an atmosphere permeated with the courage and authority of heaven.
What happened next is the stuff of fantasy, but it is 100 percent historically accurate. The manifestation of the Holy Spirit not only sounded like a mighty, rushing wind, but it looked like fire. Luke described it as 120 separate "tongues as of fire," which rested on each believer. Not one person was left out—everyone heard the sound of the wind and received a tongue of fire upon them. John the Baptist had announced that Jesus would baptize His followers "with the Holy Spirit and fire" and this was the moment when that all began.
"Suddenly a sound like a mighty rushing wind came from heaven, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. There appeared to them tongues as of fire" (Acts 2:2-3). I know this to be a scientific fact; when wind meets fire, it is inevitable that the fire will spread! Always!
After the wind and the fire, the third tangible sign of the dunamis power of the Holy Spirit was that believers began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. Now, let me challenge you—don't read this account only in a historical sense, as you may have read it hundreds of times previously. Read this account as if you were in that very room.
Perhaps John looked over at Peter and opened his mouth to speak, planning to say, "Hey, Pete, you have fire on your head!" Yet instead of speaking in Aramaic, a unique and unfamiliar language came out that John had never before learned or studied, and perhaps had never heard.
Or, Mary might have glanced in the direction of her son James, intending to say, "What is happening in here? Are we safe?" But instead, out of her mouth flowed a torrent of words that were not of her natural vocabulary. Those words had absolutely no cerebral meaning for Mary, but out they came!
Even though the believers couldn't comprehend what the Holy Spirit had given them to speak, the words had meaning for the God-fearing Jews who had come from many countries and regions to worship in Jerusalem and were now gathered to listen to these extraordinary "tongues" that told—in their own languages—of "the wonders of God."
As far as we know, Jesus never spoke in a language that He didn't learn from His earthly parents or from a teacher. The disciples did, however, because this was the very first example of the "greater works" that Jesus said His disciples would accomplish. At Pentecost, we see the fulfillment of the words of Jesus when He promised, "The Holy Spirit is with you but will be in you" (see John 14:17), and "But when the Counselor comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will bear witness of Me" (John 15:26).
We all need help, don't we? The help that we have been given to live a powerful, creative life this side of heaven is found in the person of the Holy Spirit!
Carol McLeod is an author and popular speaker at women's conferences and retreats, where she teaches the Word of God with great joy and enthusiasm. Carol encourages and empowers women with passionate and practical biblical messages mixed with her own special brand of hope and humor. She has written 10 books, including The Rooms of a Woman's Heart; Defiant Joy!; Holy Estrogen!; No More Ordinary; Refined; Joy For All Seasons; Let There Be Joy!; Pass the Joy, Please!; Guide Your Mind, Guard Your Heart, Grace Your Tongue; and Stormproof, which releases on March 1, 2019. Her teaching DVD, The Rooms of a Woman's Heart, won the Telly Award, a prestigious industry award for excellence in religious programming. You can also listen to Carol's "Jolt of Joy" program daily on the Charisma Podcast Network. Connect with Carol or inquire about her speaking to your group at carolmcleodministries.com.
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