“On one occasion, while He was eating with them, He gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift My Father promised, which you have heard Me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.””
This past Sunday was Pentecost, when the Christian Church celebrates its birth. This day, the fiftieth day after the Sabbath of the Passover week was the day which was the traditional celebration of the bringing in of the Harvest. It was on this day, ten days after the Lord ascended into heaven, that the gift of the Holy Spirit was given, creating and empowering the Church to go out and bring in the harvest of those who would be redeemed through the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. As Luke describes this day in the book of Acts he portrays it as a day which is focused upon the work of the Triune God in creating His Church. It is the promise of the Father which is sent to the Church. They are to wait for it to come. It is the Holy Spirit who will be sent. We will go forward in our mission work in the power of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God will give testimony to the Lord Jesus Christ, creating a Christ exalting fellowship of believers. D. M. Lloyd-Jones puts it this way in Authentic Christianity ( p. 24-25), “Christianity puts this before us in this way: “God in three Persons, blessed Trinity” – God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. God – a God who is personal, a God who can say, “I am” (Exodus 3:14) and “I will…” (Exodus 3:17). He is a God who, because He is a Living God, reveals Himself. Contrary to modern teaching, God is not an abstraction. He is not the mere “ground of all being.” He is not “the absolute.” He is a God who thinks, a God who speaks, a God who makes proclamations. Or, looking at it the other way around, He is a God to whom we can pray, a God whose help we can seek. This is the message throughout the Bible.”
Jesus tells His disciples that they are to wait in Jerusalem for this Promise of the Father to be given to them. This is something which they cannot create for themselves. They cannot put together a committee to make sure that this promise is given in an orderly way. They must wait for it. It is only by the power of God that they will ever carry out the missionary commission that the Lord has given to them. The task set before them was impossible. They had no hope of accomplishing it in their own strength. Here is the beauty of the promise however. They were never expected to carry the Great Commission out in their own power. In Matthew 28:18ff Jesus says to them “Behold I am with you always.” Therefore the work can be done because it does not depend upon them, it depends upon the limitless power of the Living God.
John Calvin put it in this encouraging way. “We see a great number whose heart fails them when they see that the work is greater than their strength: ‘Oh,’ they say, ‘how shall I be able to do that? I feel that I am so weak and I can see that is a great burden and beyond my bearing.’ No, no; let us just work, however difficult things may be, and God will work for us. And since St. Paul in talking of things that surpass the strength of men never fails to exhort them to do them, we must understand that it is no excuse to plead that we have been shocked and dismayed because we see that we are unable to bear the burden that God lays upon our shoulders; for He knows what we can do – nothing at all. And moreover, He will not fail us while we walk in humility, and undertake to subject ourselves to Him and to put ourselves entirely in His hands.” (A Portrait of Calvin, T.H.L. Parker, p. 94)
This is the great hope to which our God has called us. We need to be people of faith who humbly walk with the Living God.