Let’s think about what Christ said to His Apostles when He told them to WAIT. Luke 24: 34 “Saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon. 35. And they told what things were done in the way and how he was known of them in breaking of bread (ver.30). 36. And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. 37. But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. 38. And He said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? 39. Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.”
(I want to point out something here that we read above and compare it to another passage of Scripture :) John 20:1 “The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulcher, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulcher. 11. But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulcher, 12. And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.”
(THIS WAS THE DAY FOLLOWING THE WEEKLY SABBATH, DURING THE DAYS OF UNLEAVENED BREAD AND WHEN THE WAVE SHEAF WAS OFFERED.
Christ became the FULFILLMENT of that Old Testament Wave Sheaf offering, but HAD NOT YET ASCENDED TO HIS FATHER TO BE ACCEPTED AS SUCH.)
Notice what He said to Mary at this time: Verse 17 “Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.”
Now compare this with the following Verse: 19. “Then THE SAME DAY AT EVENING, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.”
So what is the main point I’m making here? Jesus had to be accepted by the Father as the Wave Sheaf offering (Firstfruit) before He could be defiled by human touch. It also shows that He was able to accomplish that journey, to and from Heaven, in a matter of hours! We find written in I Corinthians 15:20 “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the Firstfruits of them that slept”. And in Ver. 23: “But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at His coming.”
After this small digression, we’ll continue Christ’s instruction in Luke 24 on WAITING on this POWER. Luke 24:49 “And behold, I send the promise of my Father (John 14:16, 17) upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with POWER from on high.” Notice they were not to “take off’ on their own, as many have done in trying to be “preachers” or teachers, but they were to “tarry”, (which merely means “to wait”), until something was to occur to them. What was that something? Well, we now know from God’s Word that a transformation from fright and terror, (shown there in John 20:19), to a Spirit of boldness and POWER took place on that day of Pentecost in 31 A.D. What a tremendous change came over Peter and the other Apostles as recorded in the Book of Acts verses 1:4 “And being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which saith he, ye have heard of me.” 8. “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost (Spirit) is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”
Those that have repented of their sins, been baptized and had hands laid on them have been given that same Power that Christ’s Apostles demonstrated, as far as that courage, that boldness. (Of course it was a onetime experience of the “tongues of fire” and speaking in other languages as they did.) II Timothy 1:6 “Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee (Acts 2:38) by the putting on of my hands. 7. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of POWER, and of LOVE, and of a SOUND MIND. 8. Be not therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the POWER of God; 9. Who hath saved us (we’re in the process of salvation), and called us with an Holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.”
It was all in the Plan of God from the very beginning! This is one of the reasons I felt this message would be a great help and encouragement to all of us. I hope you realize that harder times are prophesied for God’s people in the times ahead. We’re going to need more than human strength to endure the trials that lay ahead. Notice the warning: II Tim.chap. 2:1 “Thou therefore my son, BE STRONG IN THE GRACE that is in Christ Jesus. 3. Thou therefore ENDURE HARDNESS, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 12. Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ shall suffer persecution.”
We do not have to fear what others might do to us! BE ENCOURAGED that WE have God on our side as we read in: Romans 8:14 “lFor as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 15. For you’ve not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but you’ve received the Spirit of adoption (sonship, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.”
Do you really, truly, grasp the magnitude of this statement alone? We have a HEAVENLY PARENT THAT GENTLY AND POWERFULLY LOOKS OUT FOR OUR NEEDS AND PROTECTION AT ALL TIMES! The world at large, at this time, does not have this priceless privilege. They cannot, RIGHTFULLY, PRAY to Him as their Father, YET! Only the firstfruits, shown by Pentecost, have that right (We found in, I Corinthians 15:20, that Christ was the First of firstfruits).
Continuing now in: Romans 8:17 “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that WE SUFFER WITH HIM, that we may be (remember - those who endure and overcome until the end?) be also glorified together. 18. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us 20. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of Him who hath subjected the same in hope. 21. BECAUSE the CREATURE (human beings) ITSELF also SHALL BE DELIVERED FROM THE BONDAGE OF CORRUPTION (of being human mortals) INTO THE GLORIOUS LIBERTY OF THE CHILDREN OF GOD. 22. For we know that the whole creation groans and travaileth in pain together, until now. 23 And not only they, but we ourselves which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the (sonship), to wit, the redemption of our body. 27. And He that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because (it) maketh intercession (guides us) for the saints according to the will of God. 28. And we know that ALL THING S WORK TOGETHER FOR GOOD to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His will. 31. What shall we then say to these things? IF GOD BE FOR US, WHO CAN BE AGAINST US? 35. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 38. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor present things, nor things to come, 39. Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God (described as one of the aspects of the Holy Spirit in II Tim. 1:7), which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Remember, some of these very things - “tribulation, persecution, famine, war and perils were prophesied by Jesus Christ and others to occur in these end times. Most certainly, we’ll need the special power and help of God’s Holy Spirit to endure”
I hope all of us are greatly encouraged by this passage of Scripture from the Apostle Paul! This is why he could also say with confidence and faith: Philippians 3:8 “Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ. 10. That I may know Him, AND THE POWER OF THE RESURRECTION, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death; 11. If by any means I might attain the resurrection of the dead.”
This is what the Apostle John was talking about in John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 3. All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made. 11. He came unto His own, and His own received Him not. 12. But as many as received Him, TO THEM GAVE HE POWER TO BECOME THE SONS OF GOD, even to them that believe on His Name.”
Yes, this is one of the requirements of receiving the Gift of the Holy Spirit. No wonder Jesus instructed His disciples “---to wait in the city Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.” In Luke 24:49. And if you think about it, if they hadn’t obeyed that command, they would not have received that awesome POWER of the Holy Spirit. Without that power, we could do nothing as far as the Church is concerned! Acts 1:8 “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy (Spirit) is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto Me, both in Jerusalem, and in Judea, and in Samaria, and UNTO THE UTTERMOST PART OF THE EARTH” John 15:5 “I am the vine, ye are the branches: he that abideth in me, and I in him (through the Holy Spirit), the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” By this power, God’s Work is achieving marvelous progress, despite our small numbers!
Thank God for His offered AND fulfilled PROMISE OF POWER of His Holy Spirit. How very few have this Special Gift bestowed upon them!