“I’m leaving”, Jesus said to his disciples.
They looked at him incredulously, waiting for the punchline. Waiting for him to explain it to them, in the way that he always did, when they were confused by something he said.
Jesus didn’t flinch. “You seem sad.”
Sad? Maybe. Scared? Definitely. Confused? No question. If Jesus was going to leave them all–and where was he going anyway?–then what was the point of having followed him all these years? What was all this talk about the Kingdom of God, if Jesus was leaving?
The disciples stood there silently waiting for Jesus to finish his thought.
“I’m going back to my Father”, Jesus said. “But here’s what I want you to know, and you know I’m telling you the truth! It’s better for you if I leave. I’m going to send you another Helper. And if I don’t go away, I can’t send him. He’s going to give you all the power you need to continue to carry out my mission in the world.”
The disciples still didn’t understand what Jesus meant, but they trusted him enough that this simple promise gave them hope.
Soon enough, Jesus really was gone. They had walked through the darkness of his death, rejoiced with him in his resurrection, and now they stood, staring up into the sky, where Jesus had just ascended into the clouds. He had said it again: I’m sending you my Spirit.
It wouldn’t take long until they understood–not just in theory, but in experience–what he actually meant. They were gathered in a room, praying, waiting on God, when the Spirit finally came. It was more powerful than they had anticipated. They were driven from the room. The people in the courts of the temple were shocked when Peter, a lowly, uneducated fisherman, stood up and began speaking in a way that they could all understand.
The crowds of people from all over the earth listened as Peter told them about Jesus, about his life, his death, and his resurrection. About how Jesus was the one who was promised. And, sadly, about how Jesus was the one who was crucified.
The people were devastated when they heard this news, and begged Peter, “what can we do now?”
“Turn back to God!”, Peter said. “And you’ll receive the same gift that I received, that drove me from that room and brought me out here. It’s the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
Every person who follows Christ has been given the same gift of the Holy Spirit that compelled the disciples to face their fears, go outside, and begin preaching the Gospel. But what does that mean? Join us tomorrow in person at 10:30 am, or live online at live.restoreworship.org as we consider what it means to have been given the Gift of the Holy Spirit.