Holidays are often followed by a genuine letdown. For weeks, we have planned the things that make the Easter weekend special- family gathering, getting some new clothing, our kid’s excitement. We sang “Christ, the Lord, Is Risen Today” proclaiming our faith. We exchanged greetings with other Christians, hopeful smiles on our faces.
Now … it’s over. Here in New Jersey this Monday morning dawned with pouring rain and gray skies. What an apt metaphor for the emotional state of so many who are heading back to work.
Let’s change the story. There is more to know and experience the day after we celebrate Christ’s Resurrection. Luke tells us about two men walking from Jerusalem to Emmaus who were downcast, sorrowful that all the Messianic hopes wrapped around Jesus had come crashing to an end. “As they talked and discussed these things, Jesus himself suddenly came and began walking with them. But God kept them from recognizing him. He asked them, “What are you discussing so intently as you walk along?” They stopped short, sadness written across their faces. Then one of them, Cleopas, replied, “You must be the only person in Jerusalem who hasn’t heard about all the things that have happened there the last few days.” (Luke 24:15-18, NLT) Later as they sat to eat together, Jesus took bread and gave thanks. They recognized Him in that moment “And within the hour they were on their way back to Jerusalem. There they found the eleven disciples and the others who had gathered with them, who said, “The Lord has really risen!” (Luke 24:33-34, NLT) They now had more than memories. They had a mission!
The Resurrection was never meant to be ‘an end.’ That event was the revelation of a whole new era for the world, the pivot for those who follow Him. Luke opens the story of the Church telling us about another glorious Promise. “After his death, he presented himself alive to them in many different settings over a period of forty days. In face-to-face meetings, he talked to them about things concerning the kingdom of God. As they met and ate meals together, he told them that they were on no account to leave Jerusalem but “must wait for what the Father promised: the promise you heard from me. John baptized in water; you will be baptized in the Holy Spirit. And soon.” When they were together for the last time they asked, “Master, are you going to restore the kingdom to Israel now? Is this the time?” He told them, “You don’t get to know the time. Timing is the Father’s business. What you’ll get is the Holy Spirit. And when the Holy Spirit comes on you, you will be able to be my witnesses in Jerusalem, all over Judea and Samaria, even to the ends of the world.” (Acts 1:3-8, Message)
The Holy Spirit lives in us, the gift of God Who makes us spiritually alive. But, do we acknowledge Him, seek His empowering for daily life? We Pentecostals profess a conviction that there is an experience of the Spirit that is available to hungry saints that takes us deeper in our discipleship, that strengthens our intimacy with the Father. The record of that first generation of Jesus’ followers takes a remarkable turn when they were filled with the Spirit. Men who lacked an edge to their faith found courage to speak to crowds, to endure persecution, and ultimately many died for the Name of Jesus. The same Spirit is promised us and on this day after, the next logical step is to invite Him to empower us for Kingdom living.
Let’s turn our thoughts to Pentecost! The calendar says The Feast of Pentecost is May 15, but I earnestly pray that the Spirit will fall on us now, that we will find a mission, the people of God empowered by the Spirit of God. Christians have a unique message for a world torn apart by so many things. We make Christ Jesus known – and through Him people find a whole new way to live. The sins and rebellion that once gripped us are defeated by the Risen Lord. The hopelessness of death is replaced with the hopefulness of Eternal Life. It is the Day After. Time to seek the Spirit!
Today, ponder this word from the Word and pray for the fullness of the Spirit!
“And the believers were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 13:52, NLT)
“Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts. And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Ephesians 5:18-20, NLT)
There’s nothing worth more
that will ever come close,
No thing can compare,
You’re our living hope,
I’ve tasted and seen
of the sweetest of loves,
Where my heart becomes free
and my shame is undone,
In Your Presence Lord.
Holy Spirit, You are welcome here.
Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere.
Your glory, God, is what our hearts long for;
To be overcome by Your Presence, Lord.
(Your Presence, Lord)
(Oh God how we love Your Presence Lord)
Let us become more aware
of Your Presence
Let us experience the glory
of Your goodness (Lord)
Bryan Torwalt | Katie Torwalt © 2011 Capitol CMG Genesis
(Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)
Jesus Culture Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing) CCLI License # 810055