The Holy Spirit At Pentecost


As part of your response in “What Caused The Change In Peter”, you accurately point out in John 20:21-23 that the disciples received the Holy Spirit directly from Jesus. How does this differ from the disciples being “filled with the Holy Spirit” at Pentecost (Acts 2:4) after Jesus’ ascension? If they already had received the Spirit, why was He sent again?


Three different words are used in the Bible to describe the relationship between believers and the Holy Spirit. Before the cross He was described as being “with” certain people. Afterwards He is sealed “within” all believers. And we read of the Holy Spirit “coming upon” certain people as well. This coming upon us is a special temporary empowerment designed to accomplish a specific objective. It’s what happened with the disciples at Pentecost.

The Holy Spirit, who had been with the disciples during their time with the Lord (John 14:17) and in them since the resurrection (John 20:21-22) came upon them enabling them to speak in languages that could be understood by the foreigners among them so everyone present could understand their message (Acts 2:1-4).

This same “coming upon” is used to describe how Peter’s guests manifested the gift of tongues in Acts 10:44 and how the 12 men Paul baptized in Acts 19:6-7 demonstrated the same ability. In both these cases the objective was to demonstrate that the Holy Spirit had been given to Gentiles.