Summary: The book of Acts opens with a dramatic presentation of three symbols that would characterize the ministry of the Holy Spirit throughout the age of the church. These three symbols are very prominent all through the book of Acts. Mighty rushing wind Tong
The Divine Wind
Acts 8:25-26… After testifying and preaching the word of the Lord in Samaria, Peter and John returned to Jerusalem. And they stopped in many Samaritan villages along the way to preach the Good News to them, too. As for Philip, an angel of the Lord said to him, "Go south down the desert road that runs from Jerusalem to Gaza." NLT
The book of Acts opens with a dramatic presentation of three symbols that would characterize the ministry of the Holy Spirit throughout the age of the church. These three symbols are very prominent all through the book of Acts.
• Mighty rushing wind
• Tongues as of fire
• Proclamation of unknown languages, the gift of tongues
These indicate three elements, which we will find repeatedly throughout the book of Acts, and throughout the age of the church, wherever the Spirit is at work.
The gift of tongues is a symbol of the proclamation of the truth in unknown languages. It began on the Day of Pentecost with the Apostle Peter standing up and proclaiming Jesus Christ to a great crowd of people.
Fire is a symbol of the judging and purifying by the Holy Spirit at work within his church, to keep it a usable instrument, to keep it honest and available. We see the Spirit working as fire in the story of Ananias and Sapphira, when God judged the hypocrisy, the sham of an empty Christian life.
The mighty rushing wind represents the Spirit in his Sovereignty, in his right to direct the activity of the church.
Joke… “The Boy Who Believes in the Holy Spirit Isn’t Here”
A children’s Sunday School class was learning to say what they believe. Each child was assigned a sentence to repeat one after the other.
The first one said, “I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth.”
The second child said, “I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son…”
When he had completed his sentence, there was an embarrassing silence.
Finally, one child piped up, “Teacher, the boy who believes in the Holy Spirit isn’t here.”
John 3:5-8 Jesus replied, "The truth is, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives new life from heaven. So don’t be surprised at my statement that you must be born again. Just as you can hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can’t explain how people are born of the Spirit." NLT
The wind is an apt symbol of the sovereign direction of the Holy Spirit. He goes wherever he wills; you cannot predict him.
In the text today Peter and John on their way back from Samaria to Jerusalem:
There are three words there that indicate the normal, usual activity of Christians.
Testifying = shared what they had experienced. That is what a testimony is. It is telling everyone else what happened to you. Peter and John shared what God had done with them through Jesus Christ.
Preaching The Word = they gave out truth. The truth that we now have incorporated in the Scriptures, they spoke to these new believers in Samaria.
Evangelized= stopped in many Samaritan villages
These three things, testifying, preaching, and evangelizing make up the normal activities of Christian witness. They are perfectly normal, and yet they are empowered by the Holy Spirit. There is nothing particularly unusual about them, but nevertheless they are empowered by the Spirit of God and directed by him.
What Dr. Luke is after in this passage is to set the next story in sharp contrast to the normal ordinary, expected things. However, in the next account we have an unusual, extraordinary, unpredictable activity of the Spirit of God.
Acts 8:26-27... As for Philip, an angel of the Lord said to him, "Go south down the desert road that runs from Jerusalem to Gaza." So he did, NLT
An angel suddenly appeared to Philip. I have never had an angel appear to me. I have never seen an angel, except for the one I married.
Heb 1:14… But angels are only servants. They are spirits sent from God to care for those who will receive salvation. NLT
An angel appears to Philip and gives him an unexplained command to go south and take the road that leads from Jerusalem to Gaza.
He could not have picked an emptier stretch of road. It is desert road, as the account tells us. There are no cities or villages, nothing.
The wonderful thing to me is the beautiful way in which Philip obeyed this command of the angel.
• He did not say, "Well, I’ll have to pray about this."