The Unheard of Wonder
"They received and held fast the promise of the Spirit by the Lord Jesus."
In His farewell address, Jesus comforted His disciples in their sorrow over His departure with one great promise - namely, the mission of the Holy Spirit from heaven. Better than His bodily presence among them, it would be to them the full fruit and power of His redemption. The divine life - He Himself with the Father - was to make abode within them. They were to know they were in Him and He in them. At His ascension from the Mount of Olives, this promise of the Spirit was the last subject He addressed to them.
It is evident the disciples had little idea of what this promise signified. But however defective their understanding was, they held it fast; or rather, the promise held them fast and would not let them go. They all had only one thought: something has been promised to us by our Lord; it will give us a share in His heavenly power and glory; we know for certain that it is coming. What the thing itself was or what their experience of it was to be, they could give no account. It was enough for them that they had the word of the Lord. He would make it a blessed reality within them.
The same disposition is needed now. To us also, even as to them, has the word of the Lord come concerning the Spirit who is to descend from the throne in the power of His glorified life.
"He that believeth in me ... out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water" (John 7:38). For us also the one thing needed is to hold fast that word, to set our whole desire on the fulfillment of it, and to lay aside all else until we inherit the promise. The word from the mouth of Jesus concerning the reception of the Spirit in such measure that we will be endued with power from on high must fill us with strong desire and with firm, joyful assurance.
They waited on the Father until the performance of the promise came and they were filled with the Spirit.
The ten days of waiting were for them days in which they were continually in the temple praising and blessing God and continuing in prayer and supplication. It is not enough for us to try to strengthen desire and to hold fast our confidence. The principle thing is to set ourselves in close and abiding contact with God. The blessing must come from God; God Himself must give it to us. We are to receive the gift directly from Him. What is promised us is a wonderful work of divine omnipotence and love. What we desire is the personal occupancy and indwelling of God the Holy Spirit. God Himself must give this personally to us.
A man gives another a piece of bread or a piece of money. He gives it away and has nothing further to do with it. It is not so with God's gift of the Holy Spirit. No, the Spirit of God. God is in the Spirit who comes to us, even as He was in the Son. The gift of the Spirit is the most personal act of the Godhead. It is the gift of Himself to us. We have to receive it in the closest, personal contact with God.
The clearer the insight we obtain into this principle, the more deeply we will feel how little we can do to grasp the blessing by our own desiring or believing. The goodness of God alone must give it. His omnipotence must work it into us. Our disposition must be one of silent assurance that the Father desires to give it to us and will not keep us waiting one moment longer than is absolutely necessary. Every soul which persists in waiting will be filled with the glory of God.
Every tree grows from the root out of which it first sprang. The day of Pentecost was the planting of the Christian Church, and the Holy Spirit became the power of its life. Let us turn back to that experience and learn from the disciples what it really necessary. Attachment to Jesus, the abandonment of everything in the world for Him, despair of self and of all help from man, holding on to the word of promise, and then waiting on "the living God." This is the sure way of living in the joy and power of the Holy Spirit.
(continued with # 15 - "How Little It Is Enjoyed")