Scripture Reading: Joshua 13:1-14:15 / Luke 24:36-53 / Psalm 52:1-9
We like promises that result in pleasure or blessings but we certainly don’t like them if they are a promise of judgment or pain. When your mother said, “Wait till your father gets home!”… We don’t like that promise. Or a person points their finger at you and says, “I promise you if it’s the last thing I do…” we don’t like that one either. A promise we long to hear is the boss saying, “I am giving you a raise!”
Not only is the promise important but also “who” is making the promise is sometimes of greater importance. If it is someone we trust and has been proven faithful…we believe the promise. If it is a person who has given failed or broken promises…we dismiss their promise. Sometimes we’re guilty of making heartless promises, without any intention to keep the promise. Sometimes we have made hopeful promises, knowing the promise is beyond our resources, ability and control.
Jesus shares a promise with His disciples, “I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power for on high.” (Luke 24:49) With every promise it is important to know who makes it, to whom it is given and what is promised. Jesus said the promise was the Father’s promise to give the gift of The Holy Spirit.
This Greek word for promise is a legal term denoting a promise to do or give something. It was legal and binding. The Holy Spirit has always been present in the world as “the Spirit of God” hovered over the face of the waters.” (Genesis 1:2) The Spirit of God came upon men at certain times for tasks to be done or words to be spoken. God was about to fulfill a promise He made for the Spirit’s continual and abiding presence to not simply be with man but within man…to fill them!
God promised through Old Testament prophets that He would “pour out My Spirit on all flesh.” (Joel 2:28) It was God’s promised Holy Spirit and Jesus is the one who made the promise to send it. Jesus repeatedly told His disciples that He would not leave them alone and promised to send the comforter, The Holy Spirit. This was not an idea drafted amongst theologians but a promise, divinely designed in heaven!
Jesus said the promise of The Holy Spirit was for His followers…”upon you”. They were instructed to tarry in Jerusalem… to sit and wait in anticipation for the promise. They were to wait until they received the promise. After Jesus declared this promise at His ascension, His followers stayed in Jerusalem and waited and waited and waited… They could have gotten discouraged, overwhelmed or lost faith in Christ’s words. They didn’t leave the upper room but persevered 10 days until they were endued with power from on high – the promised baptism of the Holy Spirit! Peter refers to Joel’s prophecy and reminds us this promise was not restricted to the early church but is for those who are afar off. Don’t give up on God’s promised Holy Spirit…God keeps His Promises!