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;Acts 1:4(NASB)
For forty days after His resurrection from the dead, the Lord Jesus appeared to many of His disciples and followers, speaking of things concerning the kingdom of God. No doubt He touched on the future Millennial Kingdom where one day He will rule and reign as King of kings and Lord of lords. But also He would probably make the same shrouded references to the coming Church age, which can be seen in certain gospel passages.
Christ was not only to build His Church during this dispensation of grace, but He was to give each born-again believer His own resurrected life: "Which is Christ in You the hope of glory." Those who would trust in Him for salvation, were to become a new-creation-in-Christ; positioned in Him, imputed with His righteousness, permanently in-dwelt and sealed by His Holy Spirit, granted access to the throne of grace, and given an inheritance which is kept for us in heaven. And the Church was also to become one single body of Jewish and Gentile believers who were to be a unique living, breathing organism.
These and other astonishing mysteries had been kept hidden from past generations, but were soon to be more fully revealed to Church-age believers through the apostle Paul. It was also revealed to Paul that Christ would indwell His Body (which is the Church), and because we are 'in Him' we are positioned in heavenly places and eternally united with our Lord in spirit and truth.
It was in the upper room on that last night before He was betrayed, that the Lord Jesus spoke of the coming Holy Spirit Who, at that time, was living ALONGSIDE them (in the Person of Christ Jesus Himself), and Who would one day live IN them (in the Person of Holy Spirit), after Christ's return to His Father in heaven.
And so it was that after forty glorious, post-Resurrection days, the Lord Jesus gathered His followers together and commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for this promised heavenly Helper, the permanently, indwelling Holy Spirit Which the Father had pledged to send.
Even John the Baptist had prophesied that Christ would one day "baptise you with the Holy Spirit of truth," and that the one, unique, singular day of Pentecost was fast approaching. But first Jesus must leave them and return to His Father in heaven, for if He did not return to the Father, the Holy Spirit would not come.
It would be on that special Day of Pentecost that the Church was to be birthed into being, and so Jesus gathered His followers and gave them instructions: "Do not leave Jerusalem until the Father sends you the gift he promised, as I told you before." This gift would be given on that first day of Pentecost, which is the birthday of the Church. Little did this faithful band of followers know that in ten days time they were to receive that promised baptism of the Holy Spirit, about which both John the Baptist and the Lord Jesus Christ Himself had spoken. This faithful little flock of believers were to become the first members of Christ's Body, which is the Church.
In his final meeting with those who were saved by grace through faith, Jesus made reference to approaching the day of Pentecost when He said, "You will be baptised not many days hence." And the apostle Paul would later be given greater revelation about the Body of Christ: "For by one Spirit we are all baptised into the one Body," the Body of Christ. And so it was that on that first day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came down from heaven to abide in God's redeemed ones, and on that day all believers were united by One Spirit into one Body, the Church of God.
The Son of Man may have been rejected by the world, but God's plans and purposes for the world will never be thwarted. The testimony of Christ was not to be silenced by the Cross, for the Church was to become the channel through whom the truth of the gospel of grace was to be spread throughout the world during this Church age. And from its birth at Pentecost, the Church, which is His spiritual Body, has carried the witness of Christ crucified, buried, and Resurrected, to a sin-sick, dying world.
As members of the Body of Christ, let us remain faithful to the witness and testimony of the gospel of Christ Who said, "I AM the Way, and the Truth, and the Life, no man cometh to the Father, but by ME."
Heavenly Father, thank You that You have not hidden the truth from us, but revealed it in Your Word. Thank You that I am part of that great cloud of Church-age believers who are witnesses to the truth of the glorious gospel of grace, which was started at Pentecost and which has spread to every nation and tribe, people, and language. Thank You that I have been born again by the power of the Holy Spirit and baptised into the Body of Christ, which had its beginning in that special room on that first day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was sent to be the permanent, indwelling Helper for all Christians. In Jesus' name, AMEN.
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