Summary: We spend so much time preparing in life for many different things. Sports, getting dressed, going to bed, school, etc. After Jesus ascended to Heaven, the disciples went back to Jerusalem to prepare for the coming of the Spirit. Why don’t we prepare to be
As we left the disciples last week, they had spent their last moments with Jesus before he ascended to Heaven. As they watched him disappear in a cloud, they stood there and strained to see where Jesus went, trying to figure out exactly what was happening. Suddenly, two angels interrupted their gazing into the sky and asked them why they were still standing there. They, in essence, told the disciples to quit standing around and instead to go and obey Jesus’ command to wait in Jerusalem to receive the power promised through the Holy Spirit.
Acts 1:12-13a tell us that after that encounter with the angels, the disciples made their way back to Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, up to the room in the house that they had been staying.
The half a mile walk back to Jerusalem must have been very interesting. I’m sure the disciples’ minds were spinning with questions, confusion, and anticipation. They still didn’t understand everything that Jesus was talking about concerning His Kingdom, the coming of the Holy Spirit and what that would look like, and the fact that someday Jesus would come back again. I bet the disciples talked the whole way back, excitingly asking what would happen next in Jerusalem and puzzling over Jesus’ words. Nevertheless, they stored in their hearts the promise that God would be with them and they began to prepare for the Spirit’s coming.
This act of preparation is what I want to focus on tonight. It is such an important thing in all areas of life. In a lot of ways, we spend the majority of our time preparing for things. Right now you are all in school which is preparing you for life in the future, for college, and for a job. Along those same lines, you guys all get homework and have to study for tests and quizzes which are preparing you to get good grades and do well in school. Those of us who play sports, whether it be baseball, running, football, or whatever, we have to prepare if we want to do well and, more importantly, if we don’t want to get hurt. We prepare to go out as we get dressed and ready in the morning. We prepare to eat or have someone prepare the food for us. We even prepare to go to bed as we brush our teeth, put pajamas on, and fluff our pillows just before lying down. When you really think about it, we prepare a lot.
So as the disciples and others sat in the room together in Jerusalem, they spent time preparing; preparing for the Holy Spirit to come and preparing to be Jesus’ witnesses. This is one form of preparation that I think we tend to ignore and forget about. This is especially not good because preparing for God to work in people’s lives, including our own, should be our first priority above everything else. 2 Timothy 4:2 says, “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season,” meaning whether you feel like it or not.
So tonight, let’s open our hearts to learning how to prepare for God and His Spirit to work among us by looking at the preparation the disciples made in Acts 1:13b-26.
***Read Acts 1:13b-26***
As we start, we need to pay special attention to the list of men and women who were present during this time. First we have the 11 disciples minus Judas Iscariot. Then you have Mary, the mother of Jesus, Jesus’ brothers, and other women. Then, at some point their numbers grow and we read the there were 120 believers together.
Notice that this is not a list of the All-Star religious leaders or the most perfect people living at the time. In fact, this list is almost the exact opposite. You had four fishermen who were just normal workers that no one considered much from. You had a Zealot, who was part of a radical political party set on overthrowing Rome. You had a tax collector who was considered scum of the earth. You had an adulterous woman and then another woman who still claimed she was a virgin when she had her first child. And then you had a group of people who doubted Jesus was the Messiah up to just a month before and then a bunch of people who were so unimportant that we really don’t know anything about them.
A lot of the time, I think some of us think that we have to be someone “extra special” according to our culture in order to do great things for God. We tend to have this attitude of, “If only I was _________,” fill in the blank; smarter, older, more popular, etc., “I could do more for God.” We tend to think we are not good enough to work for God and therefore don’t prepare because we think it would be a waste of time. What this passage shows us by listing these men and women is that God wants to use all of us, anyone who is willing, to do His work no matter how old we are, how smart we are, how popular we are, or what our past looks like. In other words, we ALL need to prepare because God could call on you at any moment to do His work.