How good are you with waiting? What do you do while you wait? Do you watch the pot until it boils? Do you stare out the window until your ride comes? Do you look at the clock every ten minutes and wonder why time is going so slowly for “GAME TIME” to arrive? Do you pace or, in my case, wheel up and down the length of three rooms? Are you able to think and do other things while you wait for what you’re waiting for? Depending on the degree of how much I want something to happen, sometimes I am able to wait patiently and other times I am creating a deep rut between my living room and dining room and kitchen. We read in the Book of Acts that the disciples were given advice by two men in white, when Jesus was taken up to heaven: “‘Men of Galilee,’ they said, ‘why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, Who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back the same way you have seen Him go into heaven’” (1:11). In other words, the two men in white [angels] were telling the disciples to stop waiting for Jesus to come back, but to do what He told them to do: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but WAIT for the Gift My Father promised you…the Holy Spirit” (See Acts 1:4-5).
So they waited. But, while they waited, the disciples did not twiddle their thumbs. The disciples Peter, John, James, Andrew, Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, Judas son of James, Mary the mother of Jesus and His brothers “all joined together constantly in prayer” (See Acts 1:12-14). Peter also took the leadership role and told everyone that they needed to pick someone to take Judas’ (the betrayer’s) place, in order to have twelve core disciples again (See Acts 1:15-26). Jesus’ first disciples are great examples to Jesus’ present-day disciples. They stuck together and prayed together and did what they already knew was God’s will, while waiting for the Holy Spirit. We present- day disciples would do well to do the same, as we wait for Jesus to come again. We do not know when, but we can be ready by joining together in prayer, by being “completely humble and gentle; be[ing] patient, bearing one another in love [and] mak[ing] every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace (See Ephesians 4:2-3). In this way, we can be His true ambassadors of reconciliation to the people who are outside the faith.
Why did Jesus want to give His Holy Spirit to His first disciples and all believers who follow Him? Jesus wanted to give the “Spirit of Truth” to guide them [and us] “into all truth” (See John 16:13). Jesus wanted to give the “Comforter” to turn their [and our] grief into a joy that cannot be taken away (See John 16:20-22). Jesus wanted the “Counselor” to give them [and us] His peace which has “overcome the world” and all its troubles (See John 16:33). Jesus wanted to empower them [and us] with the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, so that they [and us] may glorify Jesus’ Name by making “disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I [Jesus] have commanded you [and us] (See Matthew 28:19-20). With the Holy Spirit indwelling all believers, Jesus is “with [us] always, to the very end of the age” (See Matthew 28:20).
Jesus DID NOT give the Holy Spirit in order for believers to put the Holy Spirit above Christ or for their own self-aggrandizement or to be used in any side-show type way. Jesus DID NOT give us the Holy Spirit to cause arguments and divisions among Christians. The Apostle Paul tells us of Jesus’ desire for His followers: “There is one body and one Spirit – just as you were called to one hope when you were called – one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, Who is over all and through all and in all” (Ephesians 4:4-6).. Let us all pray and work together “until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13).
So the disciples stayed together and prayed and did the things they already knew Jesus wanted them to do, while they waited and, one day, it finally happened!: “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of FIRE that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speak in his own language. Utterly amazed, they asked: ‘Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans?’” (Acts 2:1-7).
“Pentecost (Ancient Greek: ‘the fiftieth [day]’) is the Greek name for the Feast of Weeks, a prominent feast in the calendar of ancient Israel celebrating the giving of the Law on Sinai. This feast is still celebrated in Judaism as Shavuot. Later, in the Christian liturgical year, it became a feast commemorating the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and other followers of Jesus Christ (120) in all, as described in the Acts of the Apostles 2:1-31. For this reason, Pentecost is sometimes described by some as the ‘Birthday of the Church’” (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia).
Because it was the Feast of Weeks, hundreds of Jewish people from different countries gathered in Jerusalem to celebrate – the perfect time for the first disciples of Christ Jesus to get “FIRED UP” and filled with the Holy Spirit. This motley crew of disciples who ran for cover when Jesus was arrested and crucified, are now shouting from the roof-tops, proclaiming Jesus as Savior, Lord and King. The threat of imprisonment and even death can not stop them from proclaiming Jesus’ victory over the grave. When Peter and John were in front of the Sanhedrin, they “commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the Name of Jesus. But Peter and John replied, ‘Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God. For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard’” (Acts 4:18b-20).
From this motley band of brothers and sisters there are now people who belong to Jesus and His Church in nearly every country in the world. We as Christians who love the Lord Jesus have the very same Holy Spirit as the early Church. This year, Pentecost will be celebrated on June 8th. It’s time to get FIRED UP for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and be examples of His love to everyone we meet, for Christ’s praise and glory! Amen.
Every believer of Jesus Christ DOES NOT possess all the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, listed in Romans 12:3-13, I Corinthians 12:7-11 and 27-31, Ephesians 4:11 and I Peter 4:8-11. However, Paul admonishes us, no matter what Spiritual Gifts we are given, without LOVE we “gain nothing” (See I Corinthian 13:1-3). Paul also adds, “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is LOVE” (I Corinthians 13:13). Peter begins talking about Spiritual Gifts by writing, “Above all, LOVE each other deeply, because LOVE covers over a multitude of sins” I Peter 4:8). Jesus Himself tell us, “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you LOVE one another” (John 13:35). Let us all pray that we, as followers of Christ, will be known by our LOVE and not by who or what we hate. LOVE begins with loving God, then loving all the family in Christ, and “your neighbor as yourself” (See Matthew 22:39 and Mark 12:30-31).
It is true that every Christian does not possess all the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, but every Christian does have the one Fruit of the Holy Spirit, with nine character qualities: “But the Fruit of the Spirit is LOVE, joy, peace, PATIENCE, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law, Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other” (Galatians 5:22-26).
So, I have no excuse when I choose to be impatient. Being impatient, unloving and all the opposite characteristics of the Fruit of the Spirit is my old nature. Jesus has given me and you a new nature that is “in step with the Spirit”.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he [she] is a NEW creation; the old has gone, the NEW has come!” (I Corinthians 5:17).
As brothers and sisters in Christ, let us “…not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with Whom [we] were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger…along with every form of malice. Be Kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:31-32). Also, let us “not put out the Spirits FIRE” (I Thessalonians 5:19), but KEEP THE FIRE BURNING (See Leviticus 6:12-13 and Matthew 5:15-16 and Luke 11:33-36).
Keeping the FIRE Burning Until He Comes Again!
(I have completed the Holy Days in the Liturgical Calendar, from Advent to Pentecost. so I will be taking a few weeks off from blogging, if the Lord wills. Have a BRIGHT and JOYOUS Pentecost Sunday on June 8th!)