“For the promise is for you, for your children, and for all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him.”
Read Acts 2:37-42
As a parent, I hesitate to tell my sons, “I promise.” Knowing my own inconsistency and the unpredictability of life, I am loathe to make empty promises. God has no such qualms.
In Acts 2 a confused crowd can’t make sense of what they are witnessing at Pentecost. Peter boldly preaches of a promise God made long ago being fulfilled in their midst. What they see and hear is the presence of the Holy Spirit, God dwelling in us.
Starting with the prophet Joel, Peter reminds the people of God’s promise. God will pour out the Holy Spirit on all people, women and men alike (Acts 2:17). He connects the arrival (or advent) of Jesus, his death and resurrection, as all part of this same promise. The arrival (or advent) of the Holy Spirit, poured out on the disciples at Pentecost, is the work of the exalted Jesus (Acts 2:33).
With new understanding, the heartbroken crowd chooses repentance and baptism. The expansion of the church is described, a transformed community that impacts the world.
The promise doesn’t end with Pentecost. Peter declares the promise extends to future generations, to those who are far away, and to those who respond to God’s invitation. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit is God’s promise for all of us.
During Advent we celebrate the arrival of Jesus, also called Immanuel (God with us). We rejoice in the gift of the Holy Spirit (God in us) promised to us for the transformation of the world. This is no empty promise.
Thank you, God, for fulfilling your promise. We receive the gift of the Holy Spirit with joy, empowering us to bring hope to a weary world.