Summary: Jesus anticipated his disciples needs and gave them a promise. What He promised them here, was to be the essential ingredient for their future ministry.
A Tour Through Acts
The Dynamic Spirit
4. Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, “Which,” He said, “you heard of from Me;
5. for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
6. So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?”
7. He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority;
8. but 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.”1
Shouldn’t there be some overriding purpose and significance to our time here and now? Don't you think that surely God is up to more than this? Well, God is up to more than this. But sometimes I wonder if we are not into what God is "up to."
The Promise of Jesus
As the book of Acts unfolds, several important things have happened. The Lord has been crucified and raised from the dead. He has appeared to many of His disciples. He has spoken to them about the Kingdom of God. And He is about to be taken away from them into Heaven.
Now, I’m not sure what you would be thinking had you been there, but I feel certain that these disciples were wondering just what was next. How would they live in the secular society of which they had been a part? How would this encounter with Jesus Christ change their lives? He had commanded them to share this Gospel of the Kingdom with every person. How would they do it? What resources would they need? Who would organize it? Who would carry it out? They had many questions, I’m sure, just as we have many questions today. Coming to Christ is only the beginning, you see. As we enter into this Christian life, there are still many questions that are unanswered. There are still many fears to be conquered, many issues to resolve. What is really important? What is the next step?
On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: "Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit." (vv. 4-5)
Jesus, of course, anticipated their needs and gave them a promise. What He promised them here, was to be the essential ingredient for their future ministry. It was for them, and is for us, unconditional to effective Christian living in any secular society. What they needed and what every Christian needs is power from on high, a mighty baptism in the Holy Spirit. This, Jesus said, is "the gift my Father promised"
It is interesting that Jesus told them that they must wait in Jerusalem for this promise. I’m sure that many of the disciples were fairly impulsive. Now that they had witnessed the resurrection of Jesus Christ, they were ready to share that news with everybody. What Jesus told them to do was to wait. They needed to wait because they needed the power which the Holy Spirit would provide. But waiting is one of the hardest things to do. Even when we are waiting for something good, it is still difficult. Waiting on God can be the most difficult waiting of all. But we must wait for guidance and direction. We have to wait for power. The disciples were called to wait. Only by waiting and seeking God would they find the promise of God to be real. But if they were to wait, they would be met by God.
There is always a promise. Jesus knows our every need and there is always a promise of His provision for those needs. We have difficult situations. We have problems and circumstances in our lives see a clear conclusion to. We may be questioning God, finding it impossible to understand how even He could bring something good into our life. Or, we might simply be confused. Everything seems to be going well, but there is that nagging discontent or concern. There is that desire for something, and we wonder just how to find it. There is a promise for us and it is the same promise that these early Christians received. It is the promise of the empowerment of the Holy Spirit in our life.
Jesus told us in John’s Gospel that He would have to go away, but that when He did go away, He would send us "another Comforter." He was talking about the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit of God is the Father’s gift to every believer in Christ. Through His indwelling presence in our lives, we are connected to God. We have the very life of God living in us. He has been given to us to be our resource and guide, to help us through every problem, to make the Word of God alive to us, and to make Jesus real to us. The gift of the Holy Spirit is given to every Christian to enable us to live an exciting, dynamic, abundant life of the Spirit. The promise given to the early Christians is the same promise we need today. And, of course, it is the promise given to us. In Acts 2:39 we read, "The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call." The promise is for every believer.