44 Then He told them, “These are My words that I spoke to you while I was still with you —that everything written about Me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. 46 He also said to them, “This is what is written: The Messiah would suffer and rise from the dead the third day, 47 and repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 And look, I am sending you what My Father promised. As for you, stay in the city until you are empowered from on high.”
3 After He had suffered, He also presented Himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them during 40 days and speaking about the kingdom of God. 4 While He was together with them, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for the Father’s promise. “This,” He said, “is what you heard from Me; 5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” 6 So when they had come together, they asked Him, “Lord, are You restoring the kingdom to Israel at this time?” 7 He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or periods that the Father has set by His own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
“And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”
Waiting is hard to do. We all know this. It’s one of those understandings that every single person in the world has in common.
Sometimes, we have to wait for things to happen to us or for us. And other times, we find ourselves waiting for the permission to make things happen ourselves. Either way, the waiting is often a difficult place to be.
There have been times in my life when I’ve prayed for a solution to a problematic situation. God has worked on my heart for a while before providing me with the solution I sought.
But there have also been just as many times when I’ve prayed about a problem, and God has immediately provided an answer—only to then prompt me to wait on His timing before I acted on it or made any changes.
Believe me, sometimes this “waiting on God’s timing” is much more difficult than waiting on the answer itself!
It helps me understand today’s Scripture passages. Christ tells the disciples He’s arrived to fulfill all of His promises, but they don’t need to go and tell anyone yet.
Jesus has just confirmed to them that His resurrected life and renewed ministry are direct proof and fulfillment of all the prophesies of the Old Testament, of which they were tremendously familiar. He opened up their minds to receive this knowledge and understand all that it meant (Luke 24:45).
He tells them, face to face, that they’re direct witnesses to all that He’s doing and the impact His resurrection will have on the world. He assures them His power will go with them as they begin to restore His kingdom to Israel (Acts 1:6).
I can almost imagine their adrenaline in that moment—their excitement, energy, sense of purpose! And then, Christ asks them to wait. It seems so anticlimactic until Jesus tells them why He doesn’t want them to leave Jerusalem yet.
He wants them to wait until they’re clothed with power from on high (Luke 24:49). He asks them to wait until His Holy Spirit has come down and given them the power of Almighty God. He calls them to trust in His timing, which He alone knows is best and most effective for the ministry He’ll accomplish through them (Acts 1:7).
The disciples had the greatest news of all time, spoken to them face to face. They had personal testimony. They had a mission of eternal significance. They had a calling asked of them by the Messiah they’d waited for all their lives. They seemed pretty empowered to me already.
But Christ asked them to wait on the power of His Holy Spirit. This is huge.
When I bring this into the details of my own plans, in my own life, how many times have I stepped out to act when I thought I was empowered, but it was only by my own strength? I may have had an answer that was given by God, but I acted on it with strength that was my own.
I remember instances when this has been the case. I began setting life plans into motion because I felt like God had given me a sufficient answer to my prayers. It was time to proceed. And the truth is, He’d provided those answers exactly as I believed.
But He still wasn’t done with me yet.
The process of prayer, the process of trusting God, doesn’t always end when you get an answer to your prayer. In fact, sometimes that’s where the process really begins.
The point isn’t to merely do things in our own power. Even the disciples, who were in the presence of the resurrected Christ, with the BEST news in the world, were told to wait on Him for the appointed time.
There’s always an appointed time. Sometimes, God might ask you to wait a bit before you get there. But when it comes, the power of God will empower you to accomplish amazing things—like building His kingdom on earth.
It’s worth the waiting.
- Read Acts 1:6 again. The disciples asked Jesus a question. In your own prayers this past week, this past month, what have you been waiting for God to release you to accomplish? What has prompted you to ask Him, “Lord, is this the time for ________?”
- Think of some instances in your past when you moved forward with your plans without waiting on the Holy Spirit to empower you. How did those experiences impact you or those around you?
- Jesus commands the disciples to wait until they’ve received power from on high. What forms do you think this power would take? What forms has it taken in your own life (i.e. peace, self-control, clarity, direction, strength, etc.)?