Friday, May 26, 2017

The Promise of My Father--part 2

The Word for today:
Acts 3
mark this: Luke 24:49
"And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high."
and this: Acts 2:1-4
When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit...
We are well aware of the hundreds of Old Testament promises of a Savior, the "Messiah." (Translated as "Christ" in the New Testament, "Messiah" means "Anointed.")
But we may not be aware of the Old Testament promises concerning the "Anoint-ment!"
Jesus repeatedly reminded the disciples to wait until the Holy Spirit--"the Promise of My Father"--would arrive to anoint them with power from on high, the very same power which had filled and guided Jesus.
Yesterday we traced the Promise from Genesis to the outskirts of Bethlehem. Today we will continue to track the Promise, all the way from the birth of Jesus to Pentecost.
The people waited for the Promise. They waited for hundreds of years. And then, with the birth of Jesus, it was as if a trumpet sounds and everybody connected with his birth was filled with the Holy Spirit...
John the Baptist:  He will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from birth. (Luke 1:15)
Mary: And the angel answered her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy--the Son of God. (Luke 1:35)
Elizabeth (mother of John the Baptist):
And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. (Luke 1:41)
Zechariah (father of John the Baptist):
His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied. (Luke 1:67)
Though many are filled, it is still particular people at particular times. Then John the Baptist pronounces the link between the Promise and Jesus:
John answered them all, saying, "I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. (Luke 3:16)
"Baptize" means to immerse, fill, drench, overwhelm.  Jesus is the Spirit baptizer.
Jesus himself was filled, completely, with the Holy Spirit:
The Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, like a dove. (Luke 3:22)
And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness. (Luke 4:1)
And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee. (Luke 4:14)
"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor." (Luke 4:18, quoting Isaiah 61:1)
Jesus predicts the coming of the Spirit:
On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, 'Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.'"
Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive. (John 7:37-39)
(This implies that as our spiritual thirst is satisfied, we become a source of blessing which overflows to others.)
Some of Jesus' last words to his disciples were these:
"And behold, I am sending the Promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high." (Luke 24:49)
And then Jesus ascended. But still the promise had not been fulfilled. And they waited. On another occasion, he reiterated these directions:
And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, which, he said, "you heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now." (Acts 1:4-5)
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." (Acts 1:8)
With rising anticipation, they waited. Then, in Acts 2, they found out what they were waiting for!--
Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit... (Acts 2:2-4)
All of them--not just particular people at particular times for particular tasks--were filled with the Holy Spirit.
Something amazing--supernatural--was happening. Bystanders could not explain what they were seeing, so Peter got up and gave the true explanation:
This is what was promised through the prophet Joel: 'And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams." (Acts 2:16-17, quoting Joel 2:28-32)
Then he told them the Promise was available to all:
Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Brothers, what shall we do?" And Peter said to them, "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself." (Acts 2:37-39)
This marked a radical departure from the past. The Holy Spirit was no longer given particularly, but universally--to everyone who has turned in faith to Jesus.
The brooding Spirit of Genesis, the dove who had descended upon Jesus, had found a place to "light."

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