Have you ever heard a story that was almost too unbelievable to be true? They say that truth is stranger than fiction sometimes. There is a true story told by a young lady name Laura Buxton of England. During a celebration for her grandparents’ gold wedding anniversary, some helium balloons were released. Laura herself released a balloon with a note inside of it for the person who found it to write back to her. She left her address inside. About ten days later, she received a letter in the mail. The balloon had been found some 140 miles away in a hedge at a young girl’s house!
But here is where it gets almost unbelievable. The girl who found it was also named Laura Buxton. She was also ten years old. And she also owned the exact same three pets; a three year old black lab, a guinea pig and a rabbit. As they say: What a quinky dink!
While the events of the ascension of Christ are without a doubt very unusual. They border on the fantastic and unbelievable, the historical account of Luke the Evangelist presents it as the absolute truth.
As we work our way through the passage today, we hope to offer you the proof contained here for the truth of the ascension; as well as to bring you someof the wonder of it. There are four events that happen in rapid fire fashion today.
The first of those is ‘The Promise’. The section of scripture we are covering for today seems to have the fast forward button pressed on it. It is a very quick moving passage of scripture. A lot happens today. There are some nuances related to the things that happen, which are important for us to notice. One of those was the command from Jesus to stay in Jerusalem and to wait for the promise of the Father.
Now I am reasonably sure that the Holy Spirit has the ability to catch up to these guys wherever they are, so why would Christ tell them to stay put? Many believe this has to do with scriptural prophecy. Micah 4 and Isaiah 2 have an interesting feature to them. They contain an identical word for word prophecy in them. They are contemporaries of one another and through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, they both prophecy the exact same words:
And many nations shall come, and say: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths. ”For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. Micah 4:2 And Isaiah 2:3
And it should be noted that Christ, on many occasions, made reference to fulfilling prophecy. This was done to validate to the Jews that he was the promised messiah.
The Sovereignty of God in Salvation
So Christ is telling the disciples to stay in Jerusalem in order that the gospel message may go forth from there to begin with. This is a fulfillment of both Isaiah and Micah from 750 years prior. This is also a good lesson to all of us about the sovereignty of God in salvation.
I know, in my youth, I was taught that alot of things depended on me. If I don’t go and do what I am supposed to do then people will end up in hell. There is a lot of guilt and pressure associated with those kinds of thoughts.
That is a lot of unnecessary baggage for a young person to carry around. Because the truth of the matter is that while God definitely uses our obedience in telling others about Christ to reach them, there is really nothing in the process that depends on us alone. God is the author of salvation, and he will accomplish his purposes in the absence of humans doing anything. Christ instructed these men to stay in Jerusalem to begin with. There was without a doubt someone in Macedonia who needed to hear, but God told them to stay there. Christ knew that God had it all under control regarding other nations and peoples being reached with the gospel. These things would happen in his perfect time and his perfect way.
We are messengers, but God is the one who does the saving. We shouldn’t live with added guilt from taking on too much in terms of responsibility for who hears and who doesn’t. We are to be faithful yes, but we are not responsible for the results. We are only responsible for obedience.
Similarities Between Water Baptism and the Baptism of the Holy Spirit
The next thing he tells them is related to the promised coming of the Holy Spirit. He says that John baptized with water first of all, but not many days from now, they would all be baptized with the Holy Spirit. So Christ compares water baptism with what is going to happen at Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit comes in power. Now how do these two things compare? There are some similarities in the two events for sure. But what are they? There are a couple of things:
The Holy Spirit Descended…
At the baptism of Jesus, the Holy Spirit descended, and this event essentially marked the beginning of Jesus’ earthly ministry. He was anointed at that point in time to do what he was about to do. At the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, a few days from now, the disciples will be anointed to do what they will go on to do, which in essence was to rock the world with the gospel message.
[box] Things were about to change dramatically with the coming of the Holy Spirit, at least as far as the disciples were concerned. It was going to be very different. They were going to go on to operate in a power that was previously unknown to them. [/box]
In John 14 Jesus tells his disciples
12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it. John 14:12-14
[box]It is hard for us to imagine the Apostles doing greater things than Christ, but there is a real sense in which they did. There were literally thousands of people who would be converted in the days to come after the Holy Spirit indwells these men! So this anointing that rested on Jesus at his baptism will rest on these men when they are baptized with the Holy Spirit.[/box]
Proof of God’s Divine Approval
I mentioned there were a couple of things that compared. The second was this;
The baptism of Jesus and the descent of the Holy Spirit provided proof that Christ was who he said he was and added validity to his story. The baptism of the Holy Spirit, likewise, would do the same thing for the disciples at that point. His coming gave evidence to those Christians present on the day of Pentecost that they did, in fact, belong to God. It validated their sonship.
The coming of the Holy Spirit in a manner which upset the earthly elements with a rushing wind and the speaking in tongues that happened, were both given to be physical evidence of something indeed happening. There was no question from anyone present that the Holy Spirit had come. These things provided the proof they needed.
To be continued.
[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://koinoniachurch.info/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Pastor-Dan.jpeg[/author_image] [author_info] Pastor Dan Woody is a founding elder for Koinonia. He has been serving churches as a pastor for the past 13 years. He and his wife Peggy are the parents of two sons, Chris and Jonathan. Pastor Dan is currently studying for his Mdiv with The North American Reformed Seminary. His interests include music, and most outdoor sports like golf, hiking, tennis and fishing. [/author_info] [/author]