I wonder what was going through the minds of the Apostles as Jesus spoke those words recorded in Acts 1:4-5. “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”. This scene takes place after Jesus rose from the dead and before He ascends to be with the Father. Some were probably still struggling with the events leading up to and following Jesus’ crucifixion. Some may have been in shock seeing Him sitting and eating with them because no one had ever witnessed or known of anyone who had gone through a similar ordeal. Ever wonder what other things they may have been thinking regarding Jesus’ comment: “which you heard me speak about”?
Most would have remembered Jesus saying He was going back to the Father and it would have dawned on them that they were going to be left alone. In addition to a feeling of sadness, there may have been a feeling of despair and hopelessness as they tried to imagine how they were going to carry on.
However the promise that Jesus was speaking about, is the gift of the Holy Spirit, who is given by God in order that we can witness and live for Christ. There are conditions to receiving the gift, which include, at a minimum loving God and obeying His commandments (John 14:15-17). However, Acts does share a little more about how believers can receive Him: they obey God, they have a desire to be empowered, they pray with patience, and they are united in Christian community. If we want to live for Christ we all need to seek more of the Holy Spirit and what he does with and for us.
Sometimes followers complain about the day-to-day difficulties they face sharing their faith and often express that they feel powerless to affect their families, friends and communities. They cannot see how God can use them and there is a sense of hopelessness. When Jesus left to go to the Father, the apostles were probably filled with sorrow and disappointment that He left, however He had filled their ears and their hearts with a message of promise and hope. He left them with a feeling of joy and power at the coming of the comforter. It is that same feeling, when the Holy Spirit comes to the heart of the believer as she or he is filled with joy and power to go into the world to live and witness for Christ.
Are you at a crossroad in your walk? Do you feel that your efforts are meaningless or the expectations possibly impossible? Do you want to live a life honouring God and be His witness? Claim the promise of the Holy Spirit by asking God to be used by Him.