You’ve had the dream.
You’re at school or work or some other extremely public place and life is just cruising along until you look down and realize you are not wearing any clothes. Underwear maybe, but no clothes. Sudden panic ensues, usually resulting in you waking up only to wonder if you’ve finally made it back to real life. You quickly look for a sign that all is okay. Oh, look, I’m wearing clothes. What a relief!
What Say The Scriptures?
I can’t remember which scriptures were read the night I met the Holy Spirit, but I’m betting it was close to this point.
Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and He said to them,
“Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”
These are not the first words the disciples have heard on the Holy Spirit. Jesus spoke extensively about Him coming during the last supper (John 13-17). But this is a great transition point.
Jesus opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. It’s comforting to know that Jesus cares that we understand the Scriptures. It’s faith building to be reminded that the things Jesus did, who Jesus was as the Christ, that He would suffer and rise again–all these were founded in the Old Testament Scriptures. God said He’d do something, and then He did it. Thank You, God.
But what else is “written”?
“Thus it is written…. that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
Oh. The Scriptures don’t just tell what Jesus would do? They foretell that repentance for forgiveness would be proclaimed? Yes, they do. To all nations? Yes. Beginning in Jerusalem? Yes.
You are witnesses of these things, says Jesus.
I can picture some of the disciples looking down at this point to make sure they’ve got their clothes on. Panic time has arrived.
But Jesus continues with, And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”
‘Pay attention: The Father has promised that You are not to do this alone.’
There’s so much more to that promise, but for now, let’s look at…
Get Your Clothes On Before You Speak
2 Chronicles 24:20
Then the Spirit of God came on Zechariah the son of Jehoida the priest; and he stood above the people and said to them, “Thust has God said, ‘Why do you transgress the commandments of the Lord and do not prosper? Because you have forsaken the Lord, He has also forsaken you.'”
The Spirit of God ‘came on’ Zechariah. The literal translation of ‘came on’ is ‘clothed.’ We could read the phrase as, “Then the Spirit of God clothed Zechariah…”
Jesus told the disciples to wait until they were “clothed with power from on high.”
Once Zechariah was clothed, he spoke. The disciples are about to speak so they need to be…
Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised,
“Which,” He said, “you heard of from Me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?”
He said to them,
“It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”
Jesus reminds his disciples of His own teaching on the Holy Spirit (John 13-17).
Jesus says, “you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit…”
Is there anything (besides what’s in the book of Revelation) that Jesus has said He would do that He hasn’t done yet? No? So when Jesus says to His disciples “you will be baptized” and Jesus has already been identified by John as the One who baptizes in the Holy Spirit (John 1), the disciples can trust that it’s going to happen. Soon. Buckle up.
And the disciples want to know what else is about to happen.
Jesus answers with, “It’s not for you to know times or epochs…” which could be disheartening, but then quickly continues with “but you will receive power… and you shall be My witnesses…”
What Does All This Matter To Us?
Well, first that Jesus wants us to understand the Scriptures. Not only about Himself, but about the message of repentance and forgiveness of sins and how God intends for that message to be proclaimed throughout the earth.
As followers of Jesus, we are part of that proclamation team.
It is encouraging to know that God the Father, God the Son, and the Scriptures all say that the proclamation will get done. It is also encouraging that God the Father, God the Son, and the Scriptures all say how it is intended to be done: not alone.
While it clearly isn’t God’s intent to tell us times or epochs, it clearly is God’s intent for us to receive that which He has promised.
“I am sending forth the promise” “stay until you are clothed” “you will receive power” “you shall be my witnesses”
‘Here’s what I’m doing, I command you to do this, you will receive from Me, and then you shall…’
“will”–a guarantee from Jesus that it’s going to happen
“shall”–a future command/promise from Jesus on what to do/what will be fulfilled
As followers of Jesus, let us seek Him, let us wait upon Him for what God the Father, the Scriptures, and God the Son have promised and foretold so that we may be witnesses that aren’t running around naked.