Why Wait Until Pentecost?

We are meditating on the appearance of Jesus and His words to the disciples after His resurrection (Scroll down for yesterday’s meditation). As Jesus ate with them, He gave them specific instructions about waiting. “I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:49). Why did they have to wait forty-seven days until the Day of Pentecost? What was the purpose in waiting?

The period of waiting was crucial to their empowerment, i.e. their being clothed with the Spirit. Often, we seek to go in our own strength and do not wait for God’s power and leading. A.B Simpson, founder of the Christian and Missionary Alliance, has something to say about this passage from Luke concerning waiting until we are clothed or filled with the Spirit. He said: “These waiting days were necessary to enable the disciples to realize their need, their nothingness, their failure, and their dependence upon the Master. They had to get emptied first before they would get filled.” Luke wrote that Jesus appeared again and again to them over a period of forty days after His suffering:

After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God (Acts 1:3).

What was He doing in those forty days? He was strengthening them in their faith and teaching them about the kingdom of God. We must be emptied of self and be right with God and others before we can be filled with the Spirit. When the Day of Pentecost came, they were completely ready and abandoned to God’s work, experiencing great unity, and being in one accord with one another: “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place” (Acts 2:1 KJV). The Spirit filled or baptized them, dipping them into Himself, soaking and saturating them with His presence.

The time of waiting had created a thirst that could only be quenched by God the Holy Spirit Himself. They were in a place of dependence on the Spirit because Jesus had left them and ascended to the Father seven days before the Day of Pentecost (Acts 1:3). The eleven disciples were not supermen. They were just like you and I. They needed God’s Spirit to accomplish the task of taking the message to others. Dedication and dependence on God working through them by His Spirit enabled them to complete their mission. It is no different for us.

In Acts 1:4, Luke recalls Jesus’ saying, “Wait for the gift my father promised, which you have heard me speak about.” If the promised Holy Spirit is sent as a gift, why would we not want to receive Him and all that He wants to do in us and through us? Some doubt that God will give them the Holy Spirit. Why would God not give the One that He has promised? Does God ever hold back on His giving? “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things” (Romans 8:32). Of one thing I am sure: when God gives a gift with a promise, the least we should do is to receive what He wants to give! We receive Christ by faith, and when we do, the Spirit takes up residence in our lives. If you are a Christian, you have the Spirit: And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ” (Romans 8:9). If you are a believer and trusting fully in what Christ has accomplished for you, you have the Holy Spirit. The most important thing is does the Holy Spirit have you? Have you fully abandoned your life to Christ? Does He have ownership of your life?

Taken from the series on the Gospel of Luke, found in the middle column near to the top. Click on study 66 at this linkJesus Appears to the Disciples (Luke 24:36-53). Keith Thomas.