May 12, 2011
“You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”
The Post-Resurrection Ministry of Jesus
“Baptized with the Holy Spirit”
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On the evening Jesus was arrested, He spent time with His disciples in an upper room teaching them about the future. He spent a lot of time explaining to them the ministry of the Holy Spirit after Jesus ascended to heaven. Jesus referred to the Holy Spirit as “another Helper” (John 14:16) and “the Spirit of Truth” (John 14:17). Although the Holy Spirit has been with the disciples, Jesus describes a new and future relationship where the Holy Spirit with indwell them (John 14:17). You may also recall that John the Baptist had testified that Jesus would come and baptize people in the Holy Spirit and in fire (Matthew 3:11). Now, as Jesus closes His post-resurrection ministry, and immediately before His ascension, Jesus speaks again about the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Today we will see Jesus focus upon the power of the Holy Spirit.
Baptized with the Holy Spirit. In Acts 1:3-5, Jesus has provided proof to the disciples of His resurrection after suffering. He told the disciples to stay in Jerusalem and wait for the fulfillment of the Father’s promise to them. That promise concerned the baptism of the Holy Spirit. If you recall, John had prophesied that Jesus would baptize them with the Holy Spirit. Now, Jesus tells the disciples that promise would be fulfilled “not many days from now” (Acts 1:5). The Book of Acts records many wonderful accounts of the Holy Spirit coming upon believers, and we know from the words of John the Baptist and the Lord Jesus Himself that Jesus baptizes believers with the Holy Spirit. After His ascension, Jesus will be baptizing believers not with water, but with the Holy Spirit. Jesus specifically instructed His disciples to wait until the Holy Spirit had come upon them. After you read through the Book of Acts, and then into the rest of the New Testament, you see that every believer receives the baptism of the Holy Spirit from Jesus, so that they are all sealed in the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13; Ephesians 4:30) and He is the pledge of our inheritance in God (Ephesians 1:14). If you do not have the Holy Spirit, then you are not in Christ today (Romans 8:9-11).
Are You Restoring the Kingdom to Israel? Although Jesus speaks of wonderful ministry and power in the Holy Spirit, the disciples think in terms of an earthly kingdom, with Jesus ruling it here and now (Acts 1:6). They seek the restoration of the kingdom, while Jesus speaks of the spiritual power of God coming upon them for ministry in His Name. Jesus responds to their question and tells them that it is not for them to know the times or epochs fixed by the Father’s own authority (Acts 1:7). We should always recall the way that Jesus dealt with the disciples’ questions. They were frequently upon another wave length, usually based upon an earthly, here and now perspective. They earnestly longed for the fulfillment of the prophesies of Israel’s return to power and glory, with Messiah ruling on earth. Instead, Jesus lets them know directly that God has His own timetable. When we ponder Jesus’ reply, we see from our perspective that Jesus intended them to have great ministry in the Holy Spirit, and understand that God chose not to reveal how long this new time period would last. So far, it has gone just short of two thousand years and counting. Because the consistent teaching of the New Testament always shows that Jesus may return to the clouds at any moment, we live with expectation of His imminent appearance (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).
Empowered To Be Witnesses of Jesus. As Jesus had linked His authority in all heaven and all earth to the great commission to make disciples (Matthew 28:18-20), so Jesus here links the power (“δύναμιν“) of the Holy Spirit to being His witnesses all over the world. Jesus does not intend to have wimpy ministers, but powerful men who will demonstrate the power of God in both their message and their testimony. Only the Holy Spirit provides such power for life, and without that power, the disciples must sit and wait for the day of their baptism by Jesus with the Holy Spirit. Jesus said they would not have to wait many days. We can appreciate the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives, because we do not have to wait for His power. He resides within each believer right now. He empowers us every day.
The Geographical Plan of Evangelism. Jesus laid out a very specific geographic plan for evangelizing the world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They were to start in the middle circle, with Jerusalem as the bull’s eye. Then they would preach to Judea, the area immediately around Jerusalem. Then they would go to Samaria, the next region beyond Judea, and also a pagan place (where Jesus had already ministered (John 4:7-42), but prevented the disciples for going there alone (Matthew 10:5)). Jesus now intends to send the disciples all over the world, proclaiming the good news, that times of refreshing may come (Acts 3:19). Even today, ministry always starts locally, right in your home town, with you speaking for Jesus.
So we learn more about the Post-Resurrection Ministry of Jesus.
● Jesus promised His disciples that they would receive power from the Holy Spirit to be His witnesses all over the world. Jesus has now turned His attention to empowering the disciples to be His witnesses. They have seen Him and He has established a new relationship with them, that built upon His earthly ministry to them.
● Jesus handles all of our questions with care. Although the disciples longed for the restoration of the Messianic kingdom on earth, Jesus promised them power to carry on ministry for Him. He was leaving, but they were staying. He had already taught that neither He (John 8:23) nor His kingdom was of this world (John 18:36). Jesus, however, clearly asserted He was a king, and He came to testify of the truth (John 18:37). In the same way, He now sends each of us to testify of the truth (John 14:6), under the promise and power of the Holy Spirit (John 20:21).
● Jesus laid down a geographical program for telling the world about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Start where you are, and move out. Move across boundaries of countries, people, ethnicity, and religion. Start at home, in your neighborhood, with your neighbors, city, and country. Move out under God’s direction. Bring the glad tidings of forgiveness in Christ to all the world. The Holy Spirit will proclaim the wonderful news through believers controlled by Him, in whom He dwells.
Application for Today
I have seen the power of the Holy Spirit at work in my life lately. I have proclaimed the Gospel of Jesus Christ and witnessed people respond to His invitation to receive eternal life and forgiveness as a free gift. By the power of the Holy Spirit, will you be a witness for Jesus Christ today?