Most of us long for miracles. And Jesus’ perfect life, death on sinners’ behalf as the fulfillment of Passover, and His physical resurrection prove that He is willing and able to meet our greatest needs: complete forgiveness and a new heart to follow Him as our living King. But even in the Bible, most of the journey with Jesus is lived in the moments between miracles. In this 50-day series, we’ll consider some of those moments leading up to the next great miracle in the New Testament: the fulfillment of Pentecost and the incredible growth of the Church.
Today’s devotional is the last in this series of fifty. I’ve tried to focus on some of the less miraculous moments between the time of the Lord’s resurrection and the day of Pentecost that still happen with God’s people today: simple blessings, ongoing struggles, and basic issues of faith and service to our risen Lord Jesus. For example, consider how the day of Pentecost began.
When we look at that amazing day and all that it still means for God’s people today, we typically focus on what comes in the second verse and following. But it’s also noteworthy that “they were all together in one place.” (Acts 2:1) Given the immediate context of Acts 1:15ff when Peter was speaking to all of the 120 followers of the Lord, it’s likely that this was the same group of 120 who gathered on the day of Pentecost. And given that the end of the gospels and the opening of Acts refer to their gatherings as times of worship, it’s likely that is what they were still doing when the Holy Spirit blessed them with power to be Jesus’ witnesses.
My question for us is this. If we want to experience the intimacy and joy that they had with Christ and the power to serve Him and others, how often are gathering together today and to do what?
Yes, most believers gather today on Sunday mornings, and many even gather for Bible studies at home or mid-week sermons. But I wonder if many of our meetings have become times of sharing mere knowledge about God.
How many of our worship services are not really worship at all? And I include myself in this. When our worship services seem to call for an emotional experience by dynamic personalities, engaging music, and using the name of Jesus as another religious phrase, we are not necessarily reflecting what primarily marked their times together: fervent prayer and waiting on the Lord. (Acts 1:4 and 14)
You might legitimately ask, “Why should we wait on the Lord? Hasn’t He already given us our marching orders to live for Him as His witnesses in word and deed? Hasn’t He already given His Spirit to all believers?” And that is right on both counts.
Notice how often, even after Pentecost, God’s Word refers to His people still waiting for the Lord Jesus’ return. (Romans 8:19-25, 1 Corinthians 1:7, Galatians 5:5, 1 Thessalonians 1:10, Hebrews 9:28 and 10:13, James 5:7-11, 2 Peter 3:11-13, Jude 20-23) But what does that mean? Are we to become monks, retreating from the world to gather only with other believers?
No. You know that He has called us to be the light of the world, not hiding or withholding His glory from others. (Matthew 5:15) One of the ways God’s Word repeatedly describes this waiting is as a bride waits for her groom and their wedding day. (Isaiah 62:5, Jeremiah 2:32, Ezekiek 16, Matthew 9:15, 22:1ff, 25:1ff, Revelation 19:9 and 22:17) And if you’ve ever known a woman who was preparing for her wedding because she loved her soon-to-be-husband, you know that her waiting was both passionate and active.
She spends every available moment talking with him; she talks with anyone who will listen about how much and why she loves him; she makes herself increasingly beautiful for him; and she centers much of her time planning and preparing, not only for the wedding day and honeymoon, but for their life together. A good groom does the same. And doesn’t Jesus say that He went back to the Father to prepare places for His people to be with Him in paradise forever? (John 14:1-3) He is still passionate for His people, for we are His Bride. (Isaiah 54:5, John 3:29, 2 Corinthians 11:2, Ephesians 5:25-27, Revelation 19:7-9, etc.)
When and where can we gather to wait for Christ? How can we prepare ourselves, each other, and others for His return for His Bride? This must be an increasingly burning joy in all of those who truly love the Lord and long for Him more than this world. And that love can only come by His Spirit who joins our hearts to His in overflowing praise, as we see at the day of Pentecost and throughout the rest of the New Testament.
Of course, we also that their times were marked with difficulty, too. Those who turned away from the Lord are described as loving the world instead of Christ. (John 3:19 and 12:25, 2 Timothy 4:10, 1 John 2:15, etc.) That’s just one more reason to pray for His Spirit to fill us, guide us, and use us to honor the risen Lord Jesus as His witnesses. For this is not our home, but we do have a home being prepared for us. And we do have a loving King who is coming back for His Bride.
May our waiting for Him in the moments between miracles show that we are daily living for that eternity to come.
I hope today’s thought and others in this series will be helpful to you as you journey with Jesus in the moments between miracles.