Awe and Wonder: Part Three

Awe and Wonder: Part Three

4: And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, ‘which’, He said, ‘you have heard from me;
5 : for John truly baptised with water, but you shall be baptised with the Holy Spirit, not many days from now’.
6 : Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, ‘Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?’
7 : And He said to them, ‘It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His won authority.
8 : But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

Jesus reminds the disciples of the promise of the Holy Spirit – whom they will ‘receive’, as a gift, as a form of ‘baptism’, to energise them with ‘power’, to enable them to become ‘witnesses’.

Their first act is to WAIT to receive.
Before anything else is said or done, they must wait to receive.
Before we attempt to do anything in Jesus’ name, we must wait to receive….waiting does not come easily or naturally to many of us, especially anticipating something we are not sure we will know what it’s like.
But there is a PROMISE, through the prophet Isaiah, ‘but those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength, and they will rise on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, walk and never faint’ (Isaiah 40 v. 31)
And there are CLUES, as to what God is seeking to give us –
‘gift’ : something we can’t conjure up ourselves, but can only receive freely from God (the Father) – but something we shall have to open and put to use, to realise its full potential
‘baptism’ : baptism is seen as something that is done to us – we are baptised (we don’t baptise ourselves), it’s an outpouring, a plunging, an immersion into the fulness of God – a greater, and fuller awareness of God’s presence, love, power, peace; there is always MORE of God to encounter and experience
‘power’ : it will result in a surge of power, of energy; the greek word ‘dunamis’, comes from the same root as our English words ‘dynamite’, ‘dynamo’, ‘dynamic’, indicating a real and identifiable force at work, creating activity and movement
‘witnesses’ : verse 8 may be seen as a worthy introduction to the whole of the book of Acts, for we shall see the apostles and others bear witness (by wonder-filled words and awe-inspiring deeds) to the life, death, resurrection and living power of Jesus in their lives, in ever increasing circles, starting in Jerusalem, but spreading further and further, to the ends of the earth. The greek word, here translated as ‘witness’, is ‘martyr’, and we shall see that there is a cost to witnessing, a willingness to surrender and sacrifice self to share the gospel, to introduce others to Jesus. It’s why we shall need the energy, boldness, courage of the Spirit alive and at work within us.
Teach us, O Lord, what it means to ‘wait on you’, daily, in our worship, devotion, the whole of our lives, that we may make more room to ‘receive from you’, before we ever do even a thing, or say even a word.Baptise and fill us, O Lord, with the pure and beautiful gift of Your Spirit – Your powerful, energising presence – that we may be better able to speak and act for You, in Your name, to Your glory, that the ends of the earth may encounter You, our true and living God.
Be still, for the presence of the Lord,
the glory of the Lord
the power of the Lord
is moving, in this place.

Last night, at ‘First Things First’, I shared this video, an overview of the first half of acts, by the creators of ‘The Bible Project’ – a brilliant introduction to the book we’re journeying through – its main themes, and how it fits within the whole Bible.
Phil Gough

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