This will be my last post from the Gospel of Luke. He ends his view of the life of Christ with some important words. It’s the great “take away” from his Gospel.
“You are witnesses of these things. 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.”
When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God.
Luke 24:48-53 NIV
Here we see the final interaction between the Lord and His disciples. The torch was being passed. It was now up to the apostles to bring the message of repentance and forgiveness to the world.
They were to go out and tell of everything the saw and heard under the Lord’s ministry. That’s a big assignment. They probably felt unprepared for such a task. Just like we do sometimes.
I like the fact that at His departure, Jesus blessed them. But it’s more than that. As He ascended into heaven, Christ continued to bless them. That tells me that the blessing is continual – even to us – as we proclaim the Good News.
However, there’s more that we need to see in this event. Luke gives us more details about it in his second volume – the book of Acts.
On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
Acts 1:4-5 NIV
The Lord makes it clear that something had to be done in their lives BEFORE they could go out and evangelize the world. They needed the promised gift of the Holy Spirit. That is the baptism, or immersion, in the Holy Spirit.
We sometimes get confused by this. The truth is that the baptism in the Holy Spirit is different from the infilling of the Holy Spirit. This is evident in the fact that the disciples were already filled with the Spirit before they were baptized (John 20:22). This took place after the resurrection and before the ascension.
Just before He left this earth, Jesus once again made this clear to the disciples.
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
This is a part of receiving God’s power into your life. It’s the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit takes up residence within you when you’re saved. But the baptism is the immersion in the Holy Spirit.
I believe that this is one of the most important steps in the Christian walk. It opens us up to the power of God working in us. If we want all that God has for us, then we need to actively seek this baptism.
I know there are some who teach that this is no longer necessary for us as believers. But that doesn’t seem right to me.
The apostles walked with Jesus Christ for over three years. They heard His intimate teachings. They watched His life in public and in private. Yet, even they needed something more than just the teachings of Scripture.
How much more do I need the manifestation of the power of God in my life. Here I am, 2000 years after these things took place. I need the power of God activated in me. That’s what will get the attention of the world. It will draw them to the life changing power of Christ.
Question: How much of God’s power does it take to be a true witness of who Christ is?
© 2023 Nick Zaccardi