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May 28, 2020

Prelude to Pentecost!

“Once when (Jesus) was eating with them, He commanded them, ‘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 (NLT)

Shortly before His death, Jesus told His disciples to anticipate the coming of the Holy Spirit.  In John 14 and 16, Jesus gave specific ministries the Holy Spirit would perform in the world and in their lives.  In chapter 14 He said the Holy Spirit would be their guide, advocate, counselor, and comforter.  He told them the Holy Spirit would teach them everything they needed to know and remind them of what Jesus had taught them.  In chapter 16, Jesus told them that when the Holy Spirit came, He would convict the world of its sin, and of God’s righteousness and of the coming judgment. It must have been difficult to process all the information Jesus shared with the disciples on the evening before His arrest. 

Then, following His death and resurrection when Jesus appeared to His disciples, He told them how they would accomplish the commission He gave them.  Just before He ascended back to the Father in Heaven, He told them, “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.”  In verse 8, He added, “But 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 no definite timeline given as to when the Holy Spirit would come to do all of this.  All the disciples knew is that they were to stay in Jerusalem, wait and pray in anticipation that He would come.  That’s exactly what they did.  Luke records in Acts chapter one that the apostles returned to Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives and went to the upstairs room of the house where they were staying.  In addition to the apostles about 120 believers gathered together awaiting the promise of the Holy Spirit.  Can you imagine the wonder and anticipation that must have filled their hearts?  What will happen when He comes?  How will life change?  What will we do then?

Then it happened!  Ten days after Jesus ascension on the Mount of Olives, the Holy Spirit came.  It was on the day of Pentecost, one of the three required feasts for Jews to celebrate in Jerusalem at the Temple.  Little did Peter or any of the disciples know that would be the day, but before the day was over there would be no doubt!  When the Holy Spirit came everything changed!

What if they had given up after day 3 or 4 or 5? What if they would have disbanded and left Jerusalem concluding that those few days Jesus told them to wait were for nothing? Jesus’ command to His disciples to wait in Jerusalem was the prelude to Pentecost, the coming of the Holy Spirit who would empower them for ministry and transform their lives into the very likeness of Christ!  Those 10 days spent in Jerusalem were not wasted!  Their patient waiting and constant prayer paid off! God was preparing their hearts to receive His Spirit and their lives would never ever be the same!  Waiting on God is never a waste of time. Expectant prayer lights the flame in our hearts to seek God for all that He has promised. They held on to the promise and the fire fell at Pentecost!  I want to invite you to join us tonight and tomorrow night at live.wc.org at 7pm for Light the Fire as we seek God together for all that He wants to do at Homecoming this weekend, May 30th and 31st.  It’s Pentecost weekend on the Jewish calendar. May the fire fall once again!