How did the early church receive the power of God? How do we receive it? Jesus’ words reveal some valuable insights into letting God empower our lives.
1. It Starts Here
4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem…
They did not have to take a pilgrimage to another place to find what God had for them. Jesus tells the disciples to stay in the current context.
Sometimes we want to go here and there looking for God’s will. You do not have to go away to find it. The will of God comes to you. The empowerment that God wants to bring does not require more activity, but less. We do not need to rearrange everything and relocate. Instead we must resist our running instinct and see that God’s Holy Place is within us.
2. Watch And Wait
4 “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.
We spend half of our life (or more) waiting. The upcoming changes, the dental office, the request for funds, the weekend, the new apartment, the birth of a child… The good thing about waiting is when you finally receive your answer. Even the answer is negative you have an answer and can proceed forward.
The Holy Spirit in your life is a gift. The Father and the Son are in on the present. The Godhead will come and live in you through the Holy Spirit. Have you received the Holy Spirit?
The waiting for God’s Presence in our lives serves valuable purpose. As we wait together for God, we unify around our common need for God. As we wait, we find ourselves doing an inventory of our powerlessness and dependency. Waiting intensifies our longing and attachment to God. Waiting and prayer belong together.
3. The Rite of Passage
5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
In every culture there are rites of passage-- events and accomplishments that mark a time of completion and a time of new opportunity.
When you passed Grade 8, you were ready to attend high school. On your eighteen birthday, you were legally an adult. When you were married, you gained access to a bedroom.
In each rite of passage, we are now ready to live with new rights, new realities and new purpose. The baptism in the Holy Spirit is a right of passage for every believer. You entered God’s Kingdom by new birth. You were born again and the ceremony signifying the new reality was your baptism in water.
Jesus tells us that there is another spiritual reality beyond being born again. The baptism in the Holy Spirit initiates a life of God’s Power finding its home in us.
4. Power Changes Hands
6 Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”
7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 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.”
In asking about the restoration of Israel, the disciples maintain a self-centred focus. “Whatever it is that you are talking about Jesus, will this make life better for us?”
Jesus answer presents an entirely new context and framework for being God’s people. The answer to what God will do is not found in politics or religion, as they had hoped. Instead, Jesus indicates that their focus would change from finding self-focused answers to a focus on the entire world.
God takes the power of Jesus’ resurrection and embeds it into Spirit-filled believers. Instead of Jesus restoring Israel’s dream, there is an impartation of God’s dream for the whole world and all of Creation.
When we look to God for help, we often think too small. The Holy Spirit comes into our lives so that we can go everywhere as God’s restorers. The power of God has changed hands. What was given to Jesus has now been entrusted to His Church. You have the power of God available to you everywhere for every situation.