Acts 11:16

Vermont mountains.

Wednesday, 2 November 2022

“Then I remembered the word of the Lord, how He said, ‘John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ Acts 11:16

Note: You can listen to today’s commentary courtesy of our friends at “Bible in Ten” podcast. (Click Here to listen)

You can also read this commentary, with music, courtesy of our friends at “Discern the Bible” on YouTube. (Click Here to listen), or at Rumble (Click Here to listen).

Peter just noted that, even as he began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon the believers at Cornelius’ house. He then said, “as upon us at the beginning.” With that, he next says, “Then I remembered the word of the Lord.”

Peter had seen the salvation of these uncircumcised Gentiles. They heard the word, they obviously believed, and then the Holy Spirit fell upon them. This was the same as when the Jews had received the Spirit. As such, it is a confirmation that the fulfillment of the Feast of Pentecost is not merely a particular day in the calendar year, but a particular event that occurs in a believer’s life.

The fact that it first occurred on a particular day was to show the believers at that time that the feast had found its fulfillment in the giving of the Spirit. But this was not a one-time thing. It was the beginning of an ongoing event. Peter suddenly realized this, and so he continues with, “how He said.”

Peter is now remembering something that Jesus said, and he then processed the Lord’s words in a fuller and more complete way, which is, “John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

This comes from Jesus’ words just prior to the ascension –

“And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, ‘which,’ He said, ‘you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.’” Acts 1:4, 5

Jesus was speaking to those gathered with Him at the Mount of Olives. This was to Jews who had followed Him and believed. They had seen His crucifixion and His resurrection. It was they who had received the Holy Spirit. Now, a group of people who were not Jews had likewise heard, believed, and been given the Holy Spirit in an outward display. Pentecost did not just apply to Jews then. Rather, its significance continued on with the acceptance of Gentiles as well.

But more, this was even without the baptism of repentance that came to Israel at the call of John. These Gentiles had not repented because there was nothing to repent of. They were never under the law, and they had never needed to turn back to Moses or turn back to the Messiah they had rejected. They simply heard the word concerning Jesus and they believed unto salvation. Peter will next explain the logical conclusion of this to those gathered before him.

Life application: The feasts detailed in Leviticus 23 are not “Jewish” feasts. They are also not “the feasts of Israel.” They are “the feasts of the Lord.” They are then laid out in order by the Lord –

The Sabbath.
The Passover.
*Unleavened Bread.
*Weeks (beginning with Pentecost).

(* indicates a pilgrim feast)

These deal with the work of the Lord and/or the state of the believer in Christ. The Sabbath is the rest offered to God’s people upon belief in Christ’s work (Hebrews 4:3). The Passover deals with the believer’s redemption from sin by the work of Jesus (1 Corinthians 5:7). Unleavened Bread anticipates the state of the believer in Christ because of Christ’s redemptive work (1 Corinthians 5:8). Firstfruits deals with the resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:20). Weeks anticipates the acceptance of believers despite their sinful nature (Acts 2:1, Romans 16:5, and 1 Corinthians 16:15). Acclamation anticipates the incarnation of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:48, 49). Atonement is fulfilled in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ (Romans 3:24, 25). And Tabernacles anticipates Christ dwelling in a “tent” of flesh and the believers’ walk in this life “tenting” with Him (2 Corinthians 5:7).

The only thing these feasts had to do with Israel were anticipatory annual celebrations of the Lord’s coming. Like all things under the law, they were shadows given so that when He came, the world could see Him and His work as the fulfillment of them (see Colossians 2:15, 16). In Christ is the substance, and in Christ is found the realization and fulfillment of what these annual celebrations only anticipated.

In other words, Peter is just now more fully realizing what people all over the world still fail to realize today. The work of Jesus Christ is a unified work that extends to all – Jews and Gentiles. There is one salvation and one gospel –

“For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, 15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, 16 and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. 17 And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. 18 For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.” Ephesians 2:14-18

If someone comes to you with any other doctrine, tell him, “Beat it heretic, I’m following Jesus, not the law and not just ‘one’ of His gospels, but His one and only gospel.”

Lord God, it is so wonderful that all are saved in the same manner – by simple faith in the full, final, and forever work of Jesus Christ our Lord. Thank You that we do not have to observe the law, be circumcised, or do any other such thing. All we have to do is to believe in what Jesus has done. From there, help us to demonstrate our gratitude by being observant of His will. May it be so for all our days. Amen.