Key Verse: “Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Spirit is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”
THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES, written by Luke, begins with a reference to the Gospel that bears his name. “In my first book I gave you some account of all that Jesus began to do and teach until the time of his ascension. Before he ascended he gave his instructions, through the Holy Spirit, to the special messengers of his choice.” (Acts 1:1,2, J.B. Phillips New Testament) This statement conveys the thought that the personal ministry of Jesus was only the beginning of his work. He had chosen twelve apostles to continue laboring in the Gospel and preaching the kingdom which will bless all the families of the earth in due time.—Gen. 22:18; Acts 3:25
The apostles had been witnesses to miracles which only the Messiah could perform, yet much of his preaching remained a mystery. He had appeared to them repeatedly over a period of forty days after his resurrection talking with them about things pertaining to the kingdom of God, but they were not yet fully prepared for their mission. Today’s Key Verse explains that the gift of the Holy Spirit would open their understanding to the many teachings of Jesus. Prior to his death, Jesus had similarly promised, “The Holy Spirit, which the Father will send in my name, shall teach you all things, and remind you of all things which I said to you.”—John 14:26, The Emphatic Diaglott
The giving of the Holy Spirit to our Lord’s chosen apostles would signal the opening of the “high calling” of the Gospel Age. (Phil. 3:14) On the Day of Pentecost, the remaining original eleven were the first to receive the begettal of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:1-4) Gathered there was also a large crowd of faithful Jews who had come to Jerusalem to observe the Feast of Weeks in accordance with the instructions of Jehovah. (Deut. 16:16) Now begotten with the Holy Spirit, Peter spoke to the assembly, citing a prophecy of Joel: “It shall come to pass in the last days, says God, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; … And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Acts 2:17,21, Phillips) Peter invoked the words of the Old Testament prophets to show that much of their writings pointed to Jesus Christ, of whom the apostles could now personally attest that he had been resurrected from the dead.
Peter finished his sermon with the invitation, “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. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.”—Acts 2:38,39, English Standard Version
Peter was obeying the command of Jesus, who during his ministry had instructed them, “Proclaim as you go, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matt. 10:7, ESV) Paul verified this call, later opened to both Jews and Gentiles, saying, “He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.”—Gal. 3:14, New International Version