At the risk of stating the obvious, it has been an unusually LONG winter in New England, or so it seems to me. March felt more like February; April felt more like March. It is now the beginning of May and the market up the road from me doesn’t have its annual Mother’s Day hanging plants on display along its wall outside. The weather has been too blustery cold. We have had a warm day now and then, but not a consistent string of them much like, I’m sad to say, RED SOX wins. People are waiting and waiting to be able to FIRE UP their grills and have steaks and burgers and hotdogs and shrimp on the “Barbie” (barbeque grill). Waiting is a very difficult thing for me to do. One would think I would have waiting mastered by now. I do have to wait all the time for people to do things for me. Some mistakenly think I have the “patience of a saint”. They are half right. I am a saint (follower of Christ), but I’m also a sinner saved by grace. I may seem patient on the outside, but I am “broiling” over on the inside. I wonder how the disciples felt when Jesus told them to “Wait”?
Just before Jesus was crucified, during His Last Supper with His disciples, He talked to them about the “Counselor” [N.I.V.] and “Comforter” [K.J.V.] Who was coming to guide them in His Truth. Jesus said to His disciples: “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My Name, will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have said to you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:26-27).
Jesus also said to them: “Now I am going to Him Who sent Me, yet none of you asks Me, ‘Where are You going?’ Because I have said these things, you are filled with grief. But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you. When He comes, He will convict the world of guilt, in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: in regard to sin, because men do not believe in Me; in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you will see Me no longer; and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned. I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when He, the Spirit of Truth, comes, He will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on His own; He will speak only what He hears, and He will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to Me by taking from what is Mine and making it known to you. All that belongs to the Father is Mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is Mine and make it known to you” (John 16:5-15).
Jesus talked about the Holy Spirit to a crowd way back in John 7:37b-39: “…Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, ‘If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.’ By this He meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were later to receive. Up to this time the Spirit had not yet been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.”
The Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Triune God would be given to Jesus’ disciples and He would empower them with spiritual gifts, which would give them understanding in Jesus’ teachings and enable them to glorify God by spreading His Good News of redeeming love, forgiveness and grace to all who trust Jesus for their salvation. After Jesus spends forty more days on earth, after His Resurrection, before He goes back to His Father, He gives His disciples “The Great Commission“: “…All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Therefore go and make 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 have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:18b-20).
But, before this can happen, the disciples needed to wait for Jesus’ Holy Spirit to come down on them. We learn this from a man named Luke. The Gospel of Luke was written to give his friend the history of the birth, life, death and resurrection of his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. In Luke 1:3-4, he writes to his friend, “Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know for certainty of the things you have been taught.” Luke writes a second book, the Book of Acts, to give his friend further information, regarding Jesus after His Resurrection and His empowering His disciples with the Gift of the Holy Spirit to begin His Church, the body of Christ on earth.
In the Book of Acts, Luke writes: “After His suffering, [Jesus] showed Himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that He was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. On one occasion, while He was eating with them, He gave them this command: ‘Do not leave Jerusalem, but WAIT for the gift My Father promised, which you have heard Me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ So when they met together, they asked Him, ‘Lord, are You at this time going to restore the kingdom of Israel?’ He said to them: ‘It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by His own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’ After He said this, He was taken up before their eyes, and a cloud hid Him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. ‘Men of Galilee,’ they said, ‘why do you stand looking into the sky? This same Jesus, Who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen Him go into heaven’” (Acts 1:3-11).
So they waited. How do you wait for the Holy Spirit to transform your life, from a smoldering wick to being all FIRED UP? This will be our next topic.
Waiting on the Lord By His GRACE,