Pentecost Day 3 // The Promise of the Spirit

Acts 1: 1-5, Luke 24:49

 “In the first book, Theophilus, I dealt with all that Jesus did and taught ,I have always been curious about this Theophilus guy. Who the heck is he? My english brain thinks, “A person with yet another bizarre hard to pronounce name, that’s who!” Why is he important? Theophilus actually translates to “lover of God” or “friend of God.” It’s unclear if this name is referring to one person in particular. In Luke 1:3 we see this name yet again. However, here the greeting given is “most excellent Theophilus.” Some say this man could have been a government official or nobility since “most excellent” was a title used for Roman officials. Maybe Luke was writing to a friend in high places?  Was Luke trying to persuade Theophilus to believe that Christianity was no danger to the Roman government? He could have been a benefactor or early Christian convert. Some commentators believe that Theophilus was used as a general greeting to all Christians. That it was meant to include all those whom God loved.  

Until the day he was taken up, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles who he had chosen 

Here, Luke is referencing the ascension of Jesus. That moment in salvation history when Jesus, body and soul, returned to his heavenly Father. Jesus had spent time among his apostles and disciples in his resurrected body. Can you imagine seeing that?! His twelve apostles all saw him captured, scourged, beaten, broken down, and crucified…and now they were seeing him with new flesh, more beautiful than before. Place yourself in this scene. Do you hear him speaking to you and the others? He had promised prior to his death and resurrection that he would rebuild the temple in three days (his body) and he did! Now he is promising to send the Holy Spirit.

He presented himself alive to them by many proofs after he had suffered, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.

The number forty has a noteworthy role to Luke’s audience. Numbers are never random in scripture! In the Old Testament we read about Moses and the Israelites wandering in the desert for forty years (one of my bible professors said it shouldn’t have taken them so long if only they stopped complaining and disobeying. They would have arrived much sooner!) Jesus spent forty days in the desert right after he was baptized by his cousin John. After his forty days in the desert Jesus began his public ministry. Basically, forty is a sacred number.

While meeting with them, he enjoined them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for “the promise of the Father about which you have heard me speak;

I find it interesting that Jesus told the apostles not to leave Jerusalem. They clearly wanted to get the heck out of dodge! Did they want to leave because they were afraid of being crucified like Jesus was? Or were they excited to spread the Gospel and didn’t want to wait another minute? The promise of the Father is a “power from on high” (Luke 24:49). That power is the Holy Spirit. 

 "For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

Even though he is returning to his Father, Jesus tells his apostles that they will not be left alone. They will receive the Holy Spirit! The Spirit is the LOVE of the Father and the Son. He is the third person of the Trinity and the spouse of Mary, the mother of God. The Holy Spirit is still moving and working through our Church today.

Reflection: Pray that you allow the Holy Spirit into your life in a profound way. He has always been here to guide you in truth, beauty, and goodness. He wants to be a part of your life in a special way. I pray that this day you invite him into your heart. That he may purify it with his cleansing fire and set you ablaze with a passionate love for him. Pray with me, Veni Sancti Spiritu, Come Holy Spirit. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Shalom. Xoxo.