“On the last and greatest day of the feast Jesus stood and cried out saying ‘Anyone who thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ But this he spoke concerning the Spirit, which was not yet given because Jesus wasn’t glorified yet.” John 7:37-39 points out that the Holy Spirit wasn’t given yet. In what way though had it not been given yet?
This study is about Jesus giving the Holy Spirit at the Pentecost of Acts 2.
The Jewish nation was pregnant with anticipation for the establishment of the kingdom of God. Many became disciples of John the Baptist and awaited the fulfillment of his teachings. He predicted that Jesus would baptize in the Holy Spirit (Jn 1:33). John’s baptism was preparatory for the coming Messiah. Jews throughout Judea went to be baptized by him as they confessed their sins in anticipation of God’s kingdom. John baptized Jews with water but the Messiah would baptize with the Spirit (Mk 1:8).
A new community was being formed through the preaching of the coming kingdom. Not all Jews would enter the kingdom because of their rejection of Jesus. Those with faith in Jesus were being formed as a new covenant community. Its this community that was to anticipate the Spirit of God being given to them from the Messiah. They would come to be identified as the new temple of God (1 Cor 3:16). God would reside within them. They would be Jesus’ body, His church (Eph 2).
When Peter explains what has happened on this Pentecost morning (Acts 2), we see that Jesus has been exalted the chosen King of the Jews. Jesus was not left in a tomb. He’s been raised from death and has ascended into heaven to receive the throne of David. God promised David this would happen (Psalm 89). David’s descendant would eventually resume sovereignty over the nation of Israel and his kingdom would be universal and eternal.
Much needs to be qualified as we discuss this event of Acts 2. The nature of God’s kingdom is in view. Jesus’ purpose in coming to earth is in view. These are not coincidental topics. This event of Acts 2 is paramount to the nature of the Gospel. The result of Jesus pouring forth the Spirit at this Pentecost is directly connected to the kingdom of God.