For three years, the first disciples were taught by the Master. They listened to Him teach and they watched Him engage with people. Their time together was both a classroom and an apprenticeship.
The Lord told them what was going on in humanity, explained what God’s plan was and showed them the ways of the Kingdom. He spoke to them about the here and now and about eternity. He also made sure they knew what He would suffer and endure and what the glorious outcome would be.
They watched as the Lord demonstrated His absolute power over nature and over demons. They saw Him perform miracles that only God could do, even the raising of the dead. Finally, they saw Him resurrected and walking among them, the ultimate demonstration of God’s power and mighty triumph over His foes!
This small band of Christ followers saw the triumphal entry as Jesus fulfilled one more prophecy to the acclamation of the crowds. Only days later they witnessed a turn of events that would disorient any of us — a brutal arrest and trial, jeering crowds now demanding that their Master be crucified, followed a short few days later by the announcement of His resurrection.
For the next 40 days He came back to them, instructing and encouraging them and commissioning them to a global mission, secured by key promises.
He promised them a personal enduement of spiritual power, enabling them to be His witnesses to the ends of the earth.
As the Lord ascended to heaven before their very eyes, two men dressed in white stood beside them and told them, “…this same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:9-11)
Friend, you and I are trusting and waiting on the same promise today. This same Jesus, the one born of a virgin and who fulfilled centuries of prophecies, this same Jesus is coming again.
This extraordinary promise is encouraging for us today.
We also have encouragement for the struggle that is life here and now. This same Jesus gave us the promise of His powerful and loving Presence with us now.
In spite of the challenges and the crisis we can reasonably pray and hope for His help now.
In John’s gospel, Jesus promised that He would send us the Comforter, that He would not leave us as orphans but would come to us in the person of the Holy Spirit. This Spirit is the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead. As Paul writes in Romans 8, this same Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead is living in us.
In 1 Corinthians 12 we read that by His Holy Spirit, the Lord will give gifts to his people to enable each of us to serve Him in capacities beyond our own.
While we live in a deeply troubled, fallen and reeling world of chaos, confusion, godlessness and rebellion against God, we have the same promises as the first followers of Christ had, received from the same Jesus who never changes.
We belong to the same Jesus, have received the same promises and the same commission. We have the same hope based on the same Word. We can step into each new day with this same confidence and pray accordingly for ourselves, our loved ones, our neighbours, our nation — our world.
As the old hymn says, “I need thee every hour”, and most days, that’s how we need to think and pray.
I invite you to review the passages of Scriptures mentioned here (John 14, 15, 16; Acts 1; 1 Corinthians 12) and many others. Draw from those reliable words when you pray and let the Holy Spirit raise hope and faith in you for everything that is on your heart. Read and reflect on the Word of God daily and talk with others about the unspeakable joy and hope that is yours and theirs in Christ.
On the days when words fail, let’s sing the familiar line, “…Come Holy Spirit, I need thee…”.