Jesus spent the three years of His ministry teaching and showing his twelve chosen disciples all they needed to know about Himself and God the Father…but how much of these teachings did they actually understand? I’m sure they were amazed whenever they witnessed him heal the crippled, restore sight to blind eyes and cast out demons…and some of these powers they even received for themselves to use. It is clear from the questions they asked along the way that some of the deeper meanings of His ministry were way over their heads. For example, they sometimes found the parables he used hard to understand and asked Him the meanings of what He said.
Another example is found in John 14: 2 where Jesus tells the disciples, “In my Father’s house above are many mansions, if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there you may be also. 4 And where I go you know, and the way you know.”
5 Thomas told him, “Lord we don’t know where you’re going; and how can we know the way?”
6 Jesus said, “I am the way , the truth and the life; no man comes to the Father, but by me. 7 If you had known me, you should have known the Father…you know Him and have seen Him.”
8 Phillip said, Lord, show us the Father and we’ll be satisfied.”
9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been so long with you, and yet have you not known me? He that has seen me has seen the Father, so how can you say show us the Father?”
Jesus goes on to explain to them that once He leaves another comforter will be sent. He was speaking of the Holy Spirit also called the Great comforter. 20 At that day, you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.”
The truth of what He told them would not be fully understood until after Jesus’ death and resurrection…the day the Holy Spirit was sent.
After the death of Jesus on the cross, these same disciples retreated in fear, not knowing exactly what to expect next…then they heard that Jesus had risen from the grave and their faith was restored. After Jesus ascended up to heaven, their first order of business was to choose another disciple to replace Judas… the one who had betrayed Jesus and turned Him over to be killed. They met together in an upper room. The number of people present was about one hundred and twenty…all there praying with one accord. Afterwards they drew lots and Matthias was chosen.
On the day of Pentecost, they were again all together with one accord when suddenly there came a sound from heaven like a mighty rushing wind, filling the house they were in. There appeared, like fire, cloven tongues that sat upon each of them and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost…They began to speak in other tongues. The people living in Jerusalem at the time were Jews from all nations of the world and when they heard these men speaking they heard the words in their own language and understood. How could this be, they wondered…while some assumed the disciples must be drunk.
Peter stood up and assured them this was not the case but that which was spoken by the prophet, Joel who said: It shall come to pass that in the last days, God will pour out His Spirit on all flesh; and your sons and daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions and your old men shall dream dreams…I will show wonders in heaven above and signs in the earth beneath…And it shall come to pass that whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved! Acts 2-3: 21
I wanted to share this with you today along with a note of encouragement. As I read it, I realized this same Holy Spirit still lives in the heart of every Christian. Many of us may have become accustomed to attending church and maybe getting excited when the sermon hits a chord, but now is not the time for us to be silent…or to silence the Holy spirit. Jesus left us the Great Comforter, but he is more than that…He is our connection to God the Father…The One Jesus came to represent…God’s spirit living in our heart. It is time we let him live and not to hide Him under a bushel or hold our tongue when an opportunity presents itself to glorify Him.
I have heard recently of a group who are bringing the hope of Jesus to many states that have been attacked by rioters and so-called protestors. The founder of Hold the Line Ministries is holding ‘Let Us Worship’ rallies across the country. Their theme is ‘Riots to Revival’ and it was estimated that around 7000 people showed up in Portland to worship… just a short distance from where the riots broke out later. What a blessing to hear this and know that God’s people, the church, are showing up and standing up at a time when worship and praise for God is most needed.
I pray that God’s people will all come together as the disciples finally did…in the same place and with one accord (one mind) all of us aware of the importance of sharing the good news that there is hope for our country… and assured that the same Holy Spirit released on the day of Pentecost is working today to insure that whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved!