Terry R. Baughman
“Stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high” “Go and make disciples of all nations,” (Luke 24:49 & Matthew 29:19 NIV).
The Feast of Pentecost was scheduled fifty days after the Passover according to Hebrew Scripture. Annually the people would make the journey to Jerusalem to gather for thanksgiving and celebration of the first fruits of harvest. It was a celebration of God’s provision and the blessings of produce from the land. This was ingrained in their religious culture long before special significance was given to the practice when Jesus came.
As a son of Israel and a descendent of King David it was a special joy for Jesus to celebrate the traditions of His people. However, as the Messiah of Israel and Savior of the world He added prophetic significance to many of the feasts and sacrifices that were a part of their traditions. “As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem” (Luke 9:51 NIV). Jesus planned and directed the Passover meal to be with His disciples in what became known as the Last Supper. Paul observed the significance when he wrote, “Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us” (1 Corinthians 5:7). Not only did Passover gain the honor of a new understanding, but the feast of Pentecost which followed just fifty days afterwards became an anniversary of a powerful promise.
Jesus gave specific instructions for the disciples as He, “Commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father” (Acts 1:4). He went on to explain the urgency of their compliance. His followers would be in the right place at the right time to receive the promise. Jesus explained that it was the promise which, “You have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now” (Acts 1:5).
The promise of the Spirit could have been given anytime. The gift could have been received anywhere, but it was specifically timed with a significant celebration in their culture that would forever be imprinted in their memory. The birth of the Church and the empowering of every believer began on the Day of Pentecost in Jerusalem. “When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. … And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:1, 4).
Frequently the imperative to “go” is emphasized in the commission of the disciples, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). There is always an urgency of proclamation in the Gospel message to unbelievers. However, Jesus made it clear that the first priority is the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. Stay. Wait. “Tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.” (Luke 24:49). Until is the key word. Wait for it…
All the action of the Gospel is necessary, but you cannot go without the power, you cannot fulfill the commission without the promise. Receive it and then, Go!
“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses” (Acts 1:8).