Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:38 NRSV)
Often when we think of Pentecost, our minds go to the miraculous coming of the Holy Spirit recorded in Acts 2:2-4; the mighty wind, the image of the tongues of fire, and speaking in other languages. No less miraculous, though, is the Holy Spirit working through Peter as he delivers the good news brought by Christ. Sure, there were some doubters in the crowd, but Peter would not be dissuaded Peter-- these people are not drunk but filled with the Holy Spirit.
Also remarkable is the movement of the Spirit on the crowd and their receptiveness to the word, "When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, 'Brothers, what shall we do?'” (v. 37) Yes, Peter preached a powerful and convincing sermon that day, but the Spirit was moving in their hearts. As a result, "Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day." (v. 41)
The Holy Spirit draws, fills, and directs; it constantly moves within us and around us. Through God's grace, it comes to us, creating a desire for Him, even before we are aware of its presence. Remember, those three thousand filled that day were in Jerusalem to celebrate the Jewish festival of Pentecost; they had not come to be filled by the Holy Spirit, yet they were receptive. The Holy Spirit also provided Peter with the words that created the desire to accept Christ.
What does this mean for our evangelism and witnessing? The Spirit is already at work within our families, friends, and communities, creating a hunger for Christ, although they may not be aware. They may not be immediately receptive, there will be doubters, but the Spirit will continue to work. Do not be discouraged. When we witness, and we must, the Holy Spirit will give us the words. We may never know how many will respond or when. Will it be three thousand in one day? Probably not, but even one person brought to Christ is one person saved. We must treat every day as Pentecost, always prepared to witness how Christ has changed our lives.
God, we give thanks for your Holy Spirit, and the plan of salvation found through Jesus Christ. We confess we are unworthy and recognize it is by your grace that we are saved. Fill us this day with your Holy Spirit, and help us be witness to others. Let all of our days be Pentecost. We ask this in your Son and our Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen.