27 And I will put my Spirit in you… Ezekiel 36:27a NIV
God promised that He would do something different with the new covenant – He would place His Spirit within the hearts of His people. God would then be ever-present in believers’ hearts and available to them as a continual source of power, comfort, wisdom, purity, and love towards others around us.
The gospel writers record several of the times that Jesus spoke to His disciples about the coming of the Holy Spirit. One writer, Luke, also wrote the book of Acts, which describes what happened with the disciples immediately after Jesus was raised from the dead after being crucified. He writes about Jesus:
3 After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. 4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” Acts 1:3-5 NIV
Some of Jesus’ disciples interpreted the kingdom of heaven to be the immediate establishment of a physical throne on earth, one that would decisively overthrow and overrule the great Gentile empires, such as the then-current Roman Empire. This throne in the line of David had been described by many of the Old Testament prophets, so it was not an unreasonable expectation.
The disciples were correct in their vison of the ultimate nature of the kingdom, but badly off in their timing. Jesus will indeed one day return to reign over the entire earth on a throne in the line of David, from Jerusalem. But that will only come after every spiritual effort has been made to grow the kingdom of heaven globally in the hearts of people. And this will only happen through the dedication and perseverance of people operating under the power and direction of the Holy Spirit working within them.
Near the very end of His earthly ministry after His resurrection, Jesus’ disciples numbered around 120 people. One of the last things He did with them was to give them the order to assemble together in Jerusalem to pray and wait for divine power to come to them from on high. When they receive this power, they were to use it to go out and make new disciples, beginning in their immediate neighborhoods, then spreading out over the entire globe. The good news of Jesus Christ deserves to be heard by everyone in every nation and in every tongue to help build a global kingdom and temple of disciples reflecting God’s glory.
9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.
10 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” Acts 1:9-10 NIV
Jesus will indeed return to earth at a time to be determined by the Father. After that, He will reign as Lord over the entire globe (and likely beyond) from the throne of David in Jerusalem. But until this happens, we, His followers, are to go throughout the world in the strength and guidance of the Holy Spirit to do everything we can to make disciples for Him. Like a precious treasure buried in a field or a pearl of great price found by a wise merchant, Jesus and His salvation are too valuable of a gift to be ignored, go unshared, or to be hidden under a bushel to hide its ever-burning Light.
Who is the Holy Spirit to you? If you do not know Him, turn to God through the forgiving sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus, and He will put the Holy Spirit in your heart.
How do we go about making disciples? How do we prepare? What steps can I take with God’s help? Lord, lead me in Your path.
Father God, we rely completely upon the Holy Spirit to help us and guide us in everything we seek to do for You. Your Spirit draws us, knows us, loves us, and defends us from the forces of evil. Bless, use, purify, and anoint everything we do in our efforts to make disciples. May the focus of the work always be upon You, never on us. May You be glorified, and many people saved, healed, and strengthened. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.