… wait for what the Father promised….. Acts 1:4 (MSG)
Waiting has never been one of my strong suits. My prayer is “God, give me patience, but hurry up!” Maybe you can relate. After seeing the risen Christ and being with Him for 40 days, it must have been difficult for the disciples to do what He told them just before they saw Him ascend into Heaven. He told them “that they were on no account to leave Jerusalem but must wait for what the Father promised: the promise you heard from Me. John baptized in water; you will be baptized in the Holy Spirit. And soon.” Acts 1:4-5 (MSG)
It’s doubtful that they understood what it meant to be baptized in the Holy Spirit. Everything that was happening to them in real time must have been difficult to process. So, Jesus added, “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.” Acts 1:8 (NLT) The Greek word for witnesses in this passage is “martyr.” Literally, Jesus was saying that, when indwelled with the Holy Spirit, these men would be empowered to be witnesses for Jesus even unto death! They would experience a transformation of character that would embolden them with a newfound courage! It would not depend on their willpower to achieve it. When the Holy Spirit would come upon them, they would experience God’s power, a power that would have no other explanation but Christ living in them – and through them – to make Himself known!
Apart from the indwelling Spirit, they were powerless. That’s why Jesus said they must not leave Jerusalem but, instead, wait – wait for what the Father promised, the promise you heard from Me. (Vs. 4b MSG) In verse 5, Jesus told them, “John baptized with water, but in just a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” In just a few days. For the disciples, those words began what became a ten-day waiting period in an upper room where Luke says, “They all met together and were constantly united in prayer…” Here’s the secret to waiting — prayer. They didn’t wait in isolation, anxious about when the promise of the Spirit would come and what it would mean. They were united in prayer. Do you have a community of faith that you pray with? People of like minds and hearts who will share your burden and wait with you in prayer?
“When you face a difficult task, an important decision, or a baffling dilemma, don’t rush into the work and just hope it comes out the way it should. Instead, make your first step prayer for the Holy Spirit’s power and guidance.” (Life Application Bible Notes)
This waiting period led them to prayer; it also prepared their hearts for the life change that God was about to do! Does God have you in a waiting room? Use the time wisely. Look for fellow Christ followers who will pray with you and encourage you as you wait together.