“Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near.”
James 5:7-8 (NIV UK)
We all know about the great commission given by Jesus to his disciples, in which he directs them with taking the gospel to the world. He explained that they were to be his witnesses, working alongside him in his on-going ministry “in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). But before ascending to heaven, he told his disciples: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about” (Acts 1:4).
But why wait? Why not tell them to get on with it?
Those first Apostles had to understand something very important about their commission, and it is a lesson we should remember too, This is not our ministry. The work of taking the good news of salvation to the world was, is, and always will be the ministry of Christ. He invites us to join him. And if we are to do that effectively, God knew that we would need help.
Obediently, the disciples returned to Jerusalem, and waited. Then, “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 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” (Acts 2:1-3).
This was the dramatic birth of the New Testament church. We have some details of how that took place.
“All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. Utterly amazed, they asked: ‘Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language’” (Acts 2:4-8).
God showed them, in a very dramatic way, that the preaching of the Gospel message would not be constrained or limited by the disciples’ ability and resources. Jesus had not retreated to Heaven, leaving them to figure out how to spread the gospel to the world by themselves. He knew that even with the best communication skills and enthusiasm they could not do it on their own.
So often we put the full weight of evangelism on ourselves. It’s good to know that we are not alone. We are on mission with Jesus Christ. His Holy Spirit works in and through us, making the good news of salvation known to the world.
Great God, you are in charge; help us to remember that. Help us also to recall as often as necessary that we gave ourselves to you at conversion, and that we will obediently follow as you lead. In Jesus’ name we pray.
Study by Joseph Tkach
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