Today is the 49th day of counting the omer! And tomorrow is Shavuot/Pentecost! It has been an exciting journey, getting ready to see what great things that God has in store for us!
As Jesus prepared the disciples for His departure, He gave them one last command. “Do not leave Jerusalem until the Father sends you the Gift He promised, as I told you before. John baptized with water, but in just a few days, you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 1:4-5 NLT) Notice that this was not a casual statement or simply a request. This was a command. They had a choice, but as far as Jesus was concerned, it was a command. And they all obeyed His command.
Besides the fact that they had to be in Jerusalem through Shavuot, why else would you think that Jesus told them to stay there until they received the Gift? Perhaps verse 8 of the first chapter of Acts gives us the answer. “…you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere – in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
There was a specific reason why Jesus told them to wait, and that was so that they would be empowered to be witnesses. Jesus knew that if they were not filled with the Holy Spirit, they would not have the courage to endure the persecution and death that was coming. They would not be able to remain faithful to Him when they were being thrown to the lions, burned at the stake, starved, beheaded, or persecuted in any other way.
It is the power of the Holy Spirit that provides everything needed to make it through extreme times. It is also the power of the Holy Spirit that enables us to stay true when nothing is challenging us, and life settles into a sweet little normal rhythm. At either end of the spectrum, it is easy to let go of the most precious Person in life, Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God. On one end, we are terrified; on the other end, we are lulled to sleep. It is only through the power of the Holy Spirit and intimacy with God that we will be able to endure.
There was urgency in the voice of Jesus that day as He spoke for the last time to the disciples. And He would say the very same thing to us with the same urgency in His voice. “Wait until the Father baptizes you with the Holy Spirit.” May we take His words as a command and ask the Father to send His Holy Spirit and fill us over and over again, empowering us to go everywhere and make disciples!
May 30, 2020
Boldly seeking; Boldly connecting; Boldly Discipling