Jesus told them they had to wait. He didn’t have to. He could have given them the Spirit of God right then and there. But He wanted them to wait.
And so they did. And they received the Spirit of God and the power that goes with Him.
He didn’t leave them hanging though. He promised the Spirit would come soon. And He did.
We live in a world where we want everything, and I mean everything, now. We don’t like to wait. Patience is not seen as a virtue.
Here is a clue. God is in control. In His government, He isn’t in a hurry. Sometimes he wants us to wait. Our job is to obey. The timing is always God’s.
I wrote the first narrative, Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach until the day he was taken up, after he had given instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. After he had suffered, he also presented himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.
While he was with them, he commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for the Father’s promise. “Which,” he said, “you have heard me speak about; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit in a few days.” Christian Standard Bible. (2020). (Ac 1:1–5). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
John the Baptist had announced a future baptism of the Holy Spirit. Now that prophecy would be fulfilled. Jesus had also promised the coming of the Spirit. It would be an enduement of power for the disciples so that they would be able to serve the Master Jesus and accomplish His will.
John had spoken about “the Holy Spirit and fire,” but Jesus said nothing about fire. Why? Because the “baptism of fire” has to do with future judgment, when the nation of Israel will go through tribulation (Matt. 3:11–12). The appearing of “tongues of fire” at Pentecost (Acts 2:3) could not be termed a “baptism.”
Acts 1:8 is a key verse. To begin with, it explains that the power of the church comes from the Holy Spirit and not from man. God’s people experienced repeated fillings of the Spirit as they faced new opportunities and obstacles. Ordinary people were able to do extraordinary things because the Spirit of God was at work in their lives. The ministry of the Holy Spirit is not a luxury; it is an absolute necessity.
“Witness” is a key word in the Book of Acts and is used twenty-nine times as either a verb or a noun. A witness is somebody who tells what he has seen and heard. When you are on the witness stand in court, the judge is not interested in your ideas or opinions; he only wants to hear what you know. Our English word martyr comes from the Greek word translated “witness,” and many of God’s people have sealed their witness by laying down their lives.
We hear a great deal these days about “soul winning,” and the emphasis is a good one. However, while some of God’s people have a calling to evangelism, all of God’s people are expected to be witnesses and make disciples. Discipleship is our main mission given to by Jesus. Not every disciple can bring a sinner to the place of faith and decision (though most of us could do better), but every disciple can bear faithful witness to the Jesus. “A true witness delivers souls” (Prov. 14:25).