Summary: Three things the Apostles did while they were waiting between ascension day and pentecost
“Waiting for Pentecost”
Acts 1:1-14; 2:1-13
I don’t think it was easy to be one of the twelve disciples. We see being around Jesus and taking part in miracles and the sensationalism of being a follower as getting the ‘Easy Button’ in religion. We forget that they needed to walk in faith, too. They needed to resist their doubts, too. Not just Thomas, but Jesus often said to them, “O ye of little faith.” Or “Why did you doubt?” Someone wrote a book called, “Love is a Choice” – well ‘faith’ is a choice, too. Believing is a choice. We think of the Children of Israel in the desert, see the miracle after miracle coming out of Egypt; seeing a supernatural pillar of fire at night and a pillar of cloud by day – and STILL fall into sin. What was their problem! It was unbelief. They choose to believe something other than God; they choose to put their faith in something other than God; they choose to resist the Spirit and follow their flesh. That is all of our challenge – and it was so with the Twelve, as well.
In our Scripture this morning we find Jesus’ little band of believers in transition. They are once again waiting. A few weeks early they had that horrible experience of waiting those three days while Jesus was in the tomb. Hiding behind locked doors; cowering in fear; overwhelmed with doubts – what a time of waiting that was! But Jesus walked through those closed doors and said, “Don’t be afraid!” He gave them hope. He gave them courage. He gave them something on which to build their faith.
But now He was gone again. This time they had seen Him ascend up, up, up into the air and disappear in the clouds. WOW! What an experience that must have been. Can you see them with open mouths, eyes lifted up to where they last saw Jesus – and suddenly there were two angels standing in their midst encouraging them. That is some pretty good material to build your faith on.
But now – they were waiting once again. They didn’t know it – but they were waiting for Pentecost. They were waiting for the Holy Spirit to make His grand entrance into the world. And when He came He was going to ROCK their world! He was going to rock OUR world.
Some of us are waiting for Pentecost, too. Some of us have made a commitment to pray the ten days from Jesus’ ascension to Pentecost for our unchurched family and friends. Some of you may be waiting for a personal Pentecost in your life. You have invited Jesus into your life to be your Savior – but you haven’t reached that place of total surrender where the Holy Spirit becomes Lord of your life. I want to encourage you to do that in these days before Pentecost Sunday. Have you received the Holy Spirit? Listen to the Word.
“While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”
They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”
So Paul asked, “Then what baptism did you receive?”
“John’s baptism,” they replied.
Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them...” Acts 19:1-6
Maybe you have been baptized when you repented of your sin. But after that you need the power of the Holy Spirit in your life to enable you to live the life the Bible tells you to.
Let’s take a look at what the disciples were doing between Ascension Day, which was May 17th, and Pentecost Sunday, which is May 27th this year. Pentecost, by the way, is the celebration in the Jewish religion of the giving of the law fifty days after the exodus from Egypt – hence the word ‘pente” meaning fifty. Christians celebrate Pentecost fifty days after Easter. So in a sense, our exodus from sin and the world (our salvation) occurs on Easter when Jesus, after paying for our sins or atoning for them, rose from the dead. Fifty days later at the Jewish celebration of the Feast of Weeks the Holy Spirit descends and we are given a new law that is written on our hearts by the Holy Spirit. We no longer have to follow a demanding code through self disciple – we follow a new and better code through the power of the Holy Spirit. Paul wrote: