When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance. Acts 2:1-4
The 120 that were in the upper room all received what Jesus promised, the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Jesus told His disciples that they would receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon them, Acts 1:8. The word used for “power” in this verse is where we get the English word for dynamite. In essence Jesus said they would receive supernatural explosive miracle working power from the Holy Spirit that would empower them to be His witnesses in the earth!
Not only did all of them begin to speak in tongues when they were baptized in the Holy Spirit but we see the immediate effect this baptism had on Peter. Just days before this event Peter denied Jesus three times. Fearing for His life he went into hiding and then back to fishing. As soon as Peter is baptized in the Holy Spirit, along with the others in the upper room, he steps into the street during the Pentecost celebration when the city is full of people and boldly preaches a very powerful and convicting Gospel message. As a result, 3,000 men were born again not counting the women and children!
Jesus was crucified and buried not two months prior to this. Peter, now filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, knowing he could follow the same fate as Jesus, preached a powerful convicting word and began to do the supernatural works of Jesus in signs, miracles and healings! Powerful!
For this blog post I would like to take a brief look at the word baptism.
Typically when we hear the word baptism we think of “water baptism”. Although the word baptism includes being baptized in water, this is not the exclusive meaning. Baptism means to be fully immersed in, to overwhelm and to be fully covered in. When one is baptized in water they are immersed in or completely covered (overwhelmed) in water. Jesus asked James and John if they were able to be baptized with the same baptism He was going to endure, Mark 10:38. Jesus wasn’t talking about water baptism but about His death. When Jesus told His disciples that John baptized in water but they would be baptized with the Holy Spirit He was making a clear distinction that one, baptism is not strictly water baptism and two, that there is another type of baptism for His people. To be baptized with the Holy Spirit is to be completely immersed in and overwhelmed with the person and power of the Holy Spirit! The very same Holy Spirit that Jesus was baptized in at the time of His water baptism.
With this understanding, let’s take a fresh look at what we call the Great Commission in Matthew 28, Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Notice Jesus said to baptize them in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. We typically think of this baptism as water baptism, but, that is not what Jesus said. Usually when the Bible refers to water baptism it is worded something like this; The baptism of John, a baptism of repentance, baptized in water (or a reference to water), baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus or the like. In the Great Commission there is no reference like this. I am not saying that we shouldn’t be water baptized. Jesus was water baptism and I believe it is a Biblical sacrament for all God’s people. However, I do believe Jesus was speaking about a baptism in much broader sense than water baptism alone.
Jesus said to make disciples and fully immerse them in the Father and in the Son and in the Holy Spirit. This is much more than a baptism of repentance for forgiveness of sin in water. Looking back at Acts 1:8, Jesus said that the baptism in the Holy Spirit was for the purpose of being His witnesses or in other words for the work of the ministry. In verse 4, Jesus commanded the disciples not to leave Jerusalem until they were baptized in the Holy Spirit. He did not want them to go out and do any ministry activity until they were empowered by the Holy Spirit. According to Jesus, the baptism in the Holy Spirit is mandatory for all those in any ministry capacity.