And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.…
The ascended Savior was about to come in mighty power to the disciples. They were in Jerusalem, "waiting for the promise of the Father;" doubtless they had no anticipation of the way in which that promise would be fulfilled, and must have been struck with the utmost awe and wonder when they found themselves wrought upon with such Divine energies. Our thought is directed to -
I. THE MANIFESTED PRESENCE OF GOD. God revealed his presence through the media of air and fire; the one in unusual, indeed supernatural agitation; the other in unkindled, lambent flame. Both air and fire are fitting elements for the vehicle of Divine manifestation; their ubiquity, their beneficence, the secret and indeed mysterious powers which reside in them, the mighty and even awful forces which slumber in them, and which, when aroused or kindled, work such terrible results ("Our God is a consuming fire"), - these qualities make them suitable agencies to signify the presence of the Divine. But while our God is in the elemental forces of nature, both when they render the kind and constant ministry to mankind and when they are in unusual and quite exceptional activity - though he is in the soft airs and the life-giving heats which breathe and brighten round us, and though he is in the storm and in the fire which rage above and about us - yet the way in which he manifests himself in answer to our earnest prayer and reverent waiting is not thus. Our Lord comes now to us in
(1) illumination of the mind,
(2) enlargement of the heart,
(3) multiplication of spiritual faculty and force,
(4) renewal of the will and the whole spiritual nature - we are "filled with the Holy Ghost."
II. HIS CHOSEN TIME. Christ came again to his disciples when they were "all of one accord in one place" (ver. 1). When acting together, praying together, feeling together, hoping and expecting together, then he appeared in glorious manifestation. If we who '"wait for his appearing" really desire his coming and would do our best to bring him, we must act in the same way; we must be united in thought, in feeling, in prayer, in expectation, in activity.
III. THE DIVINE END IN SPECIAL MANIFESTATION. It was not only to "sound a bell "calling attention to the birth of a new dispensation that Christ thus came in power. It was to convey redeeming truth to many minds and many peoples (vers. 5-11). "Devout men out of every nation" heard "the wonderful works of God," and carried back with them, whithersoever they returned, the knowledge of the great things God had wrought for the children of men. When men say to us "See here!" or "Lo there!" "Behold these strange phenomena, these supernatural appearances, these remarkable displays of Divine power," etc., let us dismiss them with incredulity unless they are working to the Divine end, the spiritual enlightenment and moral elevation of mankind. By their fruits we shall know them. If they "work not the righteousness of God," they are not of him; if they do, they are. So shall we "try the spirits whether they are of him."
IV. OUR HUMAN RESPONSE. (Ver. 12, 13.) The manifestation of Divine power on this occasion excited amazement and incredulity. Of these the former is wholly insufficient and the latter altogether wrong. Only too often this is the result in our case.
1. We are surprised when we ought to be simply grateful; it ought to be a surprise to us when, in response to our prayer and holy expectation, God does not come to us in renewing, fertilizing power. When the Son of man does come, does he find the expectancy of faith or the astonishment of unbelief (Luke 18:8)?
2. We are incredulous, and perhaps derisive, when we ought to be congratulatory. Some Christian men can account for Divine energy and agency on any principle but the one which should be readiest to their mind, viz. that God is with us, willing to appear on our behalf, prepared to outpour his Spirit in rich effluence on our souls and on our labors. By cur incredulity we
(1) displease him,
(2) hinder the cause we should help,
(3) make impossible any blessed share for ourselves in the shouts of victory. - C.
Parallel VersesKJV: And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.