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April 6, 2015

The Coming Gift – 50 Days to Fullness

Imagine, for a moment, being a Jesus follower in the first century. You walked with Jesus, saw His miracles, experienced His love, and witnessed His death. Then, to your amazement, when you thought all was lost, He rises from the dead! Unbelievable! Incredible! Now, what? Your whole understanding of Jesus’ coming begins to shift as you process the agony of His death and the wonder of His resurrection, in light of all He said and what was predicted by the prophets of old. Suddenly, clarity begins to displace the confusion that had disillusioned you when He died. John summed it up well when he said, “At first His disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about Him and that these things had been done to Him.” (John 12:16 NIV)

Hindsight is 20/20. If you’re living in a fog and don’t understand the ways of God in your life, you’re in good company. The disciples didn’t get it either. Still, they followed and trusted in Jesus. That’s faith! Faith is believing without seeing! It’s trusting without understanding! Indeed, we walk by faith and not by sight. It’s what makes the Christian life such an adventure! We don’t know what will happen next, but we do know the One who does! Because we know He loves us, we can walk in confidence! Jesus’ first disciples experienced that on Easter Sunday. When Jesus appeared to them, their lives were never be the same! Yet, there was a power much greater than the experience of His physical resurrection that would transform their lives. It was the promise Jesus gave them of the gift to come – the indwelling Holy Spirit! The evening before He died, Jesus told His followers in John 14:16-17, “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever– the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept Him, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But you know Him, for He lives with you and will be in you.”

Mark Burnett, executive producer of NBC’s hit The Voice as well as Survivor and Shark Tank, added a sequel to The Bible series with a program that aired Easter Sunday night called, A.D. The Bible Continues focusing on what happened after Jesus rose from the dead. It was the vision of his wife, Roma Downey. Together, they’re portraying the impact of the resurrection in the lives of Jesus’ followers and raising awareness of the transforming work of the Holy Spirit! Over the next few weeks, we’re going to trace the footsteps of Jesus after His resurrection to the coming gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, just fifty days following Easter. I hope you’ll join me on this journey and share the experience with a friend along the way.