"You shall receive power" - This occurred, as recorded in Acts 2. That power arrived like the sound of wind, a mighty, rushing wind, a great gust of air. Connect this with Genesis 2:7, where God breathed air into Adam. In that act, God was giving the man a spirit. When God gave His Holy Spirit to men, He duplicated it on a majestic scale, and the Spirit came to mankind like the sound of wind or air moving. Mankind, then, is given power, the Holy Spirit.
Psalm 62:11 says, "Power belongs to God." The context deals with a person going through trials. We have a natural tendency to turn in every direction for help, to reach out to other people, to think up solutions, to grasp for the power to solve our problem, but the psalmist informs us that God is the source of salvation. In Him resides the power to save in a right and good way.
Jeremiah 32:17 reads that "God creates by His power," and John 4:24 says that "God is a spirit." Putting these together, God is a creating spirit of the greatest power. When He creates, things of positive function and awesome beauty emerge. What a difference between man and God! By comparison, man in God's image creates destruction; almost everything man makes seems to produce negative results. But when God creates, God creates functional beauty.
John W. Ritenbaugh
The Right Use of Power
Despite spending three-and-a-half years of intense training with Jesus, the apostles retained the common Jewish concept of the establishment of God's Kingdom. Paraphrased, Jesus said, "God is working it out. You need to focus your attention on another area at this time."
The work of God was about to make a dramatic turn, occasioned by something that had never occurred before in the history of the earth. God would give His Spirit, visibly manifesting His power in many, and simultaneously launching His church and the preaching of the gospel! His Family was about to make its greatest numerical advancement to that time. It was a unique time in history. It has not happened in that manner since.
John W. Ritenbaugh
Preparing the Bride
The return of Jesus Christ was on their minds too. And like us, they would have liked to have seen the Kingdom established right away. They did not understand that they needed to be prepared for the Kingdom of God. They were not ready yet—they did not even have the Holy Spirit yet! Nor had they entirely put together all the elements of God's truth.
It is interesting that Jesus tells them, "It is not for you to know the times or seasons," but it has been given to us in far greater measure. We know many things that they did not know. We know that we are very close to the end. We do not know the day, but we know that we are in the time and season, and if there was ever a people on the face of the earth in all the history of Christianity who needed to get prepared for something, it is we. We are not yet ready, and in God's mercy, He has given us time to prepare.
It was a good while before the disciples came to grips with the fact that the return of Jesus Christ would not occur in their lifetimes, a fact evident from what is written within the New Testament. The first thing they had to come to grips with was that they had a job to do before that time would come.
John W. Ritenbaugh
Don't Be a Prudent Agnostic
This verse provides the underlying reason for the visible manifestations of power shown in Acts 2:1-6. The resurrected Christ tells the apostles, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
As in II Timothy 1:6-7, God's Spirit is linked with power—the effective capacity for God to work through a person. But this also shows what God intends when He gives the power of His Spirit: That person is to be a witness of Jesus Christ and ultimately of our Spiritual Father. This capability is not just for the apostles. We may not receive this power in the same dramatic way, and we may not be used in an apostolic role, but everyone who has received God's Spirit has the capacity to be a witness of God.
The Spirit of God, which is the same Spirit motivating Jesus Christ, imparts spiritual knowledge, understanding, and wisdom. It impels us toward holiness. It is a Spirit of power, love, and sound-mindedness. It is the essence of God's mind and enables the outworking of His will. God gives a measure of His own remarkable Spirit to incline His children to think the same way as He thinks and to live as He lives.
The more that we yield to, and make use of, God's Spirit, the more He gives. As we seek God's direction and instruction, and are careful not to quench or grieve the Spirit of our holy God (Ephesians 4:30), His character image takes shape in us. And as we grow in His image, we become witnesses of Him—our lives become testimonies of the goodness of God, the mind of God, the love of God, the holiness of God, the stability of God, and so much more. God gives us the essence of His mind so that we can reflect His glory to the world, through becoming just like Him.
David C. Grabbe
What Is the Holy Spirit?
Other Forerunner Commentary entries containing Acts 1:8:
1 Thessalonians 5:1