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 of us on the ‘day after.’ We celebrated, well, sort of given quarantine limitations. I enjoyed some time in a video call with my kids and grandkids far away, took note of the social posts of many friends. The virtual worship service included a couple of wonderful hymns and the words of “Christ, the Lord, Is Risen Today” still echo in my head, but … now I’m ready to move on to what’s next.
Let’s talk about the Life of the Spirit. Christianity is not just a glorious Day, a special worship experience. There is more, a life to live on the day after!
Two men were walking from Jerusalem to Emmaus. They were talking about the awful cruel end of Jesus. All those Messianic hopes that Jesus had raised in their hearts died with Him on the cross. Luke tells us that“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 ‘The End’ of a great drama. We know that the days after the crucifixion and the appearances of the Resurrected Lord to the disciples left them struggling to adjust to the new, confused about what was next. They initially found their way to be old things, Peter fishing in Galilee, until Jesus met him on the shore of that lake and renewed his commission. As their emotions settled they pivoted to their mission.
The story of the Church’s first days, the Acts, records Jesus’ instructions for the next steps. “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)
Today, as you take up the responsibilities of daily life and you struggle through making sense of this present world in crisis, wait expectantly for the Spirit’s empowering Presence. The Holy Spirit is available to those who hunger to love, know, and serve God. Let’s invite Him to deepen our intimacy with the Father. Yes, we serve an unchanging Christ in an ever-changing world. He will, if we surrender to Him, lead us into a future that may be quite different from the life we expected to live.
Those ordinary men that followed Jesus had no idea that they would become messengers of faith to their world. Their lives took 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 celebration of the Spirit’s coming on those first Christians! The Feast of Pentecost is May 31. Need we wait for a day? Not at all. We can pray for the Spirit to fill us now.
Are you ready for a mission, to represent Christ Jesus in your family circle, in your community, at your church? When Jesus comes to be Lord and Savior, He makes “all things new.” Hopelessness, guilt, sin, and death are replaced by joy, forgiveness, and life by when we live with faith in the Risen Lord. 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, that we will be led into His purpose in the days ahead.
“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) (Your Presence)
(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)
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