In Matthew 28, the remaining eleven disciples gather to meet with Jesus. When the disciples see the resurrected Messiah, they fall to their knees in worship. And yet, Matthew tells us that there is uncertainty in the ranks—that some doubt.
Jesus eases their doubt by assuring them of two things. First, the Father in Heaven has given Him all authority in heaven and on earth. Jesus is in charge. And second, Jesus promises to be with them to the end of the age. Then, the Son ascends to heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father.
How is Jesus going to “be with” them if He’s in heaven? For that answer, we have to go to the book of Acts. In chapter 1, verse 4, Jesus commands them to stay in Jerusalem and wait. He doesn’t say how long. He does say that “you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
The eleven who walked with Jesus, along with a group of followers numbering about 110 do as Jesus says. They wait. And they pray. At some point, Peter gets antsy and says, “Maybe if we appoint another apostle to take Judas’ place, this will move faster.” They pick two guys, cast lots to see which one God wants, and the lot falls to Matthias. They are again The Twelve.
We turn the page to Acts chapter 2 and indeed things do happen rather quickly. The sound like a mighty wind fills the house (and maybe the whole town). Maybe this is the sound heard by so many in Nashville this past week. It’s really loud.
Then tongues like fire come and sit upon the disciples. Just the twelve or all 120? We don’t know! I like to think it was all 120, which includes the women (sons and daughters). The Spirit-filled disciples begin to preach Jesus in all the languages of the Mediterranean world. Tens of thousands of out-of-town Jews are in Jerusalem for the Feast of the Pentecost, celebrating the end of the barley harvest and the giving of the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai fifty days after the first Passover. They hear the ruckus and come to see what’s going on.
When they hear these uneducated Galileans speaking in other languages, some are amazed, “What does this mean?”
Others are not so amazed. “These guys are just drunk!” I’ve met a few drunks and not one of them spoke a foreign language as a result of their condition. It was more like slurred Texan.
Peter declares that alcoholic spirits have nothing to do with it. No, it’s another Spirit at work. “Haven’t you guys read your Bibles? In Joel 2, the prophet says,
‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; even on my male servants and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.’
The last days which Joel prophesied about… are here.”
Then Peter preaches the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus—their crucified Messiah.
Those who received the Good News of Jesus called on His name (v. 21), repented of their way of life (v. 38), and submitted to baptism 1) in the name of Jesus, 2) for the forgiveness of sins 3) to receive the Holy Spirit, and 4) to be added to the body of Christ—the church (v.41). About three thousand obeyed the Gospel that day. Amazing.
Here’s what we need to see 2000 years later. The very same “tools” with which the disciples turned the world on its head are available to us right now.
They had 1) the story of Jesus, the Gospel and 2) the power of God through the Holy Spirit.
The resurrection of the crucified Messiah has changed everything. The Last Days are here! The New Covenant has been ushered in. The New Law of the Spirit of life in the Messiah has set every person free from the Old Law of Sin and death. From now on, there is no condemnation for anyone who is in Messiah Jesus.
That’s not fake news. That’s Good News! And too good to keep to ourselves. We must share this news with everyone. And by the power of the indwelling Spirit, we can.
King Jesus has all authority in heaven and on earth. His Spirit is with us as we go into the world making disciples.