A Biblical Example of a Time of Waiting:
Acts 1:3-5, 12-14 New International Version (NIV)
3 After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. 4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with[a] water, but in a few days you will be baptized with[b] the Holy Spirit.”
12 Then the apostles returned to Jerusalem from the hill called the Mount of Olives, a Sabbath day’s walk[a] from the city. 13 When they arrived, they went upstairs to the room where they were staying. Those present were Peter, John, James and Andrew; Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew; James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. 14 They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.
- Before Jesus ascended, He told the Disciples not to leave Jerusalem, to wait…
- Didn’t know for how long…(no liturgical calendar)
- Not forced to ‘social distance,’ but probably would have been glad to – their waiting conditions and setting would have been a lot worse than ours:
- 120 people, hot, stinky, many mouths to feed, no toilet paper…
“Matt Skinner: The first significant act of the apostles occurs when they hike back to Jerusalem . . . and wait. Yet the interval makes an essential point about how God will interact with these people. Presumably, the Holy Spirit could have come immediately after Jesus’ ascension, but God waits. Instead, God has Jesus’ followers remain. They begin to become a community that knows what it’s like to wait on the Lord.
The waiting has an active quality to it, going beyond merely sitting around and contemplating the past and future. The apostles wait secluded in a “room upstairs,” where they are “constantly devoting themselves to prayer” along with others who followed Jesus, both men, and women.
Living like this requires just as much courage as if Jesus had told them to go out immediately and change the world using their brains and muscles. They wait, not because they see it as their only option, but because they expect big things to come from God–situations in which they will be privileged to play essential roles.
Time of waiting was significant for Disciples; it wasn’t squandered:
- They Learned to wait on God (let’s do the same now)
- They learned to expect big things – that there was MORE that God had for them, and they wanted what God had available (let’s do the same now)
- They demonstrated obedience – did what Jesus said to do; they were surrendered (let’s do the same now)
- Devoted themselves to the hard work of prayer (let’s do the same now)
- And let’s count our blessings as we ‘wait’ – we have HVAC, running water, the ability to connect through technology, most of us are getting to wait with people we love, we have food…and water…and TP
- AND we are living post-Pentecost, which means, we already have the Holy Spirit, who lives in us, comforts us, and helps us to know the Lord is near
- “Social Distancing does not equate to Spiritual Distancing.”
Disciples used that time in the Upper Room wisely; let’s use this time wisely to wait on the Lord, be obedient, prayerful, and to be attentive to the work of the Holy Spirit