About Jesus    Steve Sweetman

Home Page   

The Act 1:5 Gift - What Is It?


In Acts 1:5 Jesus tells his disciples not to leave Jerusalem, "but wait for the gift my Father promised ... for John baptized with water, but in a few days, you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit".  What is the gift that Jesus is referring to in this verse?  I say "this verse", because Jesus does give us other gifts, for example, "eternal life".  (see Romans 6:23)

You may not think this is a big deal, but I have seen some misunderstanding over the years when answering this question.  Some have said that the gift is an experience they call "the baptism in the Holy Spirit".  They say this because Jesus says in Acts 1:5 that they will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.  Therefore the baptism in the Spirit is the gift, or so they say.

Let me quote some Scripture that will clearly state what  this gift is that Jesus is referring to. 

Acts 2:38 "Peter replied, repent and be baptized ... and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit".

Acts 8:20  "Peter answered, may your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money".  (in context, the gift is the Spirit of God)

Acts 10:45  "The circumcised believers ... were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been  poured out on the Gentiles".

We could go on but I think you get the picture.  The "gift of God" is the Holy Spirit" Himself.  The gift of God is not an experience.  Jesus told His disciples to wait in Jerusalem until they received the gift of God.  What happened on the day of Pentecost then?  The fact is, they received the Holy Spirit for the first time on that day.  The way in which they received the Spirit was like  a baptism.  Jesus used this word baptism because he knew they understood what it meant.  He was saying that in the same way you get all wet when you are water baptized, you will get all wet with the Holy Spirit when you receive Him. 

Baptism is only the way in which one receives the Spirit.  Look at this in a natural way.  I could give you some Coke, either in a can, a bottle, a cup, or a glass.  There are a number of ways in which I can give you Coke.  The way in which I give it to you is not important.  The important thing is the Coke itself.  The same is true here with the Holy Spirit.  The way in which you receive Him is not the issue.  The issue is that you actually receive Him into your being.

The emphases should be put on receiving the Holy Spirit.  Too often we have put the emphasis on "how we receive the Spirit"  We should not emphasize the experience, or the how of the situation , but the receiving of the Spirit.  

The Acts 1:5 gift is the Holy Spirit, not the baptism in the Holy Spirit. 

Home Page