Points to Ponder 2/11

The disciples had been with Jesus for three exciting, challenging and life changing years. That had constantly asked Jesus when He was going to establish His kingdom. His responses to them often seemed to create more confusion than clarity. They didn't expect His ministry to lead to His crucifixion. Despite the preparation Jesus gave them through His teaching and explaining the Scriptures, they may have lost hope at the cross. But three days later their hope was restored when the resurrected Jesus appeared to them. As they rejoiced at HIs return and the security of once again being in His presence, they also renewed their hope that He would now establish HIs (God's) Kingdom on Earth. They were probably filled with anticipation and couldn't wait to see what happened next.

Once again their anticipation turned to confusion when Jesus ascended into the sky. They did have enough sense to obey Jesus' instructions to wait in Jerusalem to be "baptized with the Holy Spirit". (They probably had some confusion over what that meant too.) On the day of Pentecost the first baptism of the Holy Spirit occurred for those who had put their trust in Jesus. The Spirit's coming not only affected the disciples, it also drew the attention of those who had come to Jerusalem to celebrate Pentecost. They too were people who believed in and sought God. They also had wondered when God would establish His Kingdom as foretold by the Prophets of the Old Testament. They were confused by what they were witnessing. Peter stepped forward to dispel their confusion.

Last week, in talking about how that initial baptism of the Holy Spirit, Josh said that when the Holy Spirit filled a person they were empowered to act. Peter not only acted, he acted with boldness and confidence. This same Peter, who upon his first encounter with Jesus, said he was a sinful man. This same Peter who had the confidence to step out of the boat and walk on water when Jesus called him and yet began to sink when his focus went away from Jesus to his circumstance. This same Peter who tried to correct Jesus' thinking  when He said He was going to be handed over to be crucified. This same Peter who denied Jesus three times, now spoke with confidence about how Jesus had launched His kingdom on the earth. He also told his audience how they could come into that kingdom and 3000 responded to his words. The Holy Spirit empowered Peter to action.

We have all experienced ups and downs as we walked out our faith. We may never get to speak to an audience of 3000. We may have had some of the same failings Peter had, however we also have access to the same Holy Spirit who indwells all believers. How is the Spirit's presence empowering you to action?

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