With anticipation kids are spying on the label attached to the Christmas-gifts: Is the gift for me? Adults are more reticent. When the theme is the gifts of the Spirit, it is perhaps no wonder that Jesus said:
“unless you turn, and become as little children, you will in no way enter into the Kingdom of Heaven”On the Day of Pentecost, Peter defined who the gift was for:
"For the promise is for you and your children and all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God calls to himself."In this verse, I see four criteria:
This does of course apply to those present. Because I believe that God's word is eternal, I also believe that it is valid for those who embrace it and count it as true in all places at all times. Therefore I am already indirectly included in the first criterion. But it may appear limiting, therefore, so Peter continues:
• Your children
The promise was not limited to one generation. The perspective was much larger. Already in the “Founding speech” there was a warning against a doctrine that claims that the gifts Holy Spirit were only for the first generation of Christians. I do not belong to the first generation “Pentecostals”, but I am embraced in the notion: "their children".
• All who are “far off”
I do not think Peter himself understood the scope of this when he preached it for the first time. That is what is so wonderfully with the preaching. It can be said about any preacher that he did not even understand a tiny portion of his own message, but it was still prophetic (cf. Caiaphas - John 11:49-51). It is likely that Peter first saw the contours of a meaning when he was in the house of Cornelius (cf. Acts 10:44-48 ). If I have not been included before, I am certainly now.
• As many as are called
Are there any restrictions on who is called? There are those who draw such conclusions, but I can not get it to fit with the image of God as he is revealed in Jesus. The prophecy of Joel about the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on "all flesh" which formed the start of Peter’s sermon is a calling to all men.
'Manna' for today:
I am included - it is for me!