Summary: The period between Easter and Pentecost is divided into two distinct periods, punctuated by the Ascension of Jesus at the end of forty days. The final ten days were given a sharp focus by the final command of Jesus to wait. Those ten days were certainly an "in-between time."
May 17, 1998
The period between Easter and Pentecost is divided into two distinct periods, punctuated by the Ascension of Jesus at the end of forty days. The final ten days were given a sharp focus by the final command of Jesus to wait in Jerusalem for the "promise" (Promise) of the Father. Those ten days were certainly an "in-between time."
The first forty days after the resurrection were not quite so clearly focused. Those days were even more of an 'in-between time,' for things were certainly not the same as they had been before. They would never be the same again. Jesus was alive, but he did not now speak publicly, or show himself to unbelievers. The disciples knew things had to change, but they didn't know what to expect. In their wildest dreams they could not have imagined what lay ahead. They could not know what the Promise would mean to them, personally. They could not know where the indwelling Spirit would take them.
During this in-between time it seems Jesus was concerned mainly with shaping and guiding the faith of his beloved disciples. He made himself known to his own. They had known him before, yes. But now there was a new dimension. Their Lord had been crucified, dead and buried. He had returned with a new and glorious body that seemed to appear and disappear, and yet was very, very real. That body itself was a promise of what the disciples one day would be.
In making himself known, the emphasis was on faith to faith. Where his disciples talked about him, Jesus showed up: Emmaus and the breaking of the bread; Galilee, and the restoration of Peter; More than 500 believers at one time and place saw and touched and fellowshipped with the risen Lord. But always in this in-between time the emphasis was on faith: "I am he that lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore!"
Jesus during this time reinforced the role and purpose of the scriptures. he had already stated clearly to the religious scholars (John 5:39) that the purpose of the scriptures was not in and of themselves to give eternal life, but rather to testify to the Living Word who himself IS life. Now the risen Lord became the Teacher, and beginning with Moses and all the Old Testament prophets— which was all the Bible then extant— Jesus expounded to the disciples the things concerned Himself. And as he did their hearts were warmed, and their faith lifted. In the in-between times they found strength in seeing Christ in the Word.
Jesus also during this in-between time reminded them that the Promise was God indwelling them. Jesus had told them that when the Spirit came he would do two things: (1) guide the believers, and (2) convince the WORLD that He, Jesus, is the Christ!
How does this apply to our own "in-between times"? Those times when our next step is not quite clear, or, if it is more sharply focused, at least we do not know exactly how to take that next step? What can we learn from the word today?
Maybe we all are always in "in-between times." but there are especially difficult times that could only be described as transition periods. New choices to make. Decisions to be made. (How I HATED the East after I got here!!)
Which college shall I attend?
Which grad school would be God's choice for me?
Should I marry him? her?
What career is really best for me?
Does God really "have a plan for my life?"
The lesson from Acts is an object lesson of "in-between time" decision making in the life of the greatest missionary who ever lived, the Apostle Paul.
He decided to go east. Nothing wrong with the decision— except— the Lord blocked him twice- so—
A closed door is an answer; not a final answer, but an answer all the same
Paul had a vision. That could be in itself dangerous. But then came an open door—
They moved through, believing God was leading Their spirit is everything here. It is not arrogance or self-seeking. If they get in trouble honestly and openly, it still comes under Romans 8:28 which had not yet been written but which is true eternally!
They met Lydia— everything starts out great— they even have a victory over evil— and
They end up in prison, at midnight, in stocks in the inner prison— but that is another great story!
Two things in final challenge:
In the in-between times God is still with us; we can deliberately seek to be his witnesses. Chinese people showing us the way! I challenge us to tell people: "God is good! God loves YOU!"
In the in-between times God will never abandon us!