Once when he was eating with them, he commanded them, “Do not leave Jerusalem until the Father sends you the gift he promised, as I told you before.
John baptized with water, but in just a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
Acts 1:4, 5
Mealtime is a great time to discuss whatever’s on your mind. During one meal Jesus said, “A Holy Spirit is coming to replace me. After I leave, wait here. Don’t go anywhere until you know where God is telling you to go.”
Imagine us sitting around the table asking Jesus, “What’s a Holy Spirit? We’ve never seen a Holy Spirit before.
“How will we know?
“Are you sure you got it right, Jesus?”
Jesus replies, “Don’t worry guys. I’ve got this. It’s going to be sort of like baptism, but on the inside. It’s going to make sense when it happens.”
That leaves a huge, hot question burning inside. Some of us are thinking, He’s always been right before, even when it didn’t make sense. He died—really dead. Cold and stiff. Not breathing. No heartbeat. We saw it, heard it, touched it, and smelled it. Then, like he said he would, he rose from the dead. Here he is, eating with us.
None of this makes sense. I don’t know what to do, except to take a chance and believe him.
Remember, the disciples also are under incredible pressure. Just a few weeks before, Jesus was tortured and murdered by the local government officials and church leaders. They may have asked themselves, if it’s so illegal and evil to be Jesus that they killed him, when are they coming for us?
Tense times, folks!
I imagine some folks thought it’s time to go do something for God. Other folks decided to hole up, fill up on pizza and beer, and watch a football game or three. Some decided to leave and forget the whole thing. Before Jesus came back from the dead, Peter figured it was over, and he went back to fishing.
A few of them huddled into a tiny group and decided they’re doing what Jesus said:
Waiting isn’t procrastinating. Procrastinating is when you know what to do and you don’t do it. Waiting is when you think you need to do something, and God has clearly told you to wait.
In John 6, Jesus fed more than five thousand people from a few fish sandwiches a little boy had brought. After that, the crowds hounded him for more miracles. He said, “Stop following me for what you can get and become like me.”
They argued with Jesus and each other about what this means. Many of them said, “This is too hard!” And they went home.
Then Jesus turned and looked at our little group of confused screw-ups and asked, “Are you leaving too?”
“We would,” Peter replied. “But we don’t know where else to go. You’ve been showing us the way of Life with God. We don’t know where you will take us, but we’re staying with you.”
Following Jesus on what seems like an uncertain path can get intense and scary. I’ve wanted to quit more times than I can count. I’ve seen way too many people start strong and turn back scared. They may attend church and read the Bible, but their hearts have quit following Jesus.
So now it’s just their little group, afraid, wondering, huddled together. The One who showed them life says, “Wait until the Holy Spirit comes and shows you what to do and how to do it.”
I meet few people brave enough to live in the moment with the Holy Spirit and stand still when he tells them to wait—even when hell is closing in.
What about you?
Take a few minutes to read or watch this: The Guiding Ministry of the Holy Spirit