Hello again and here we are into May already—the year is flying by. We have delayed our next Ladies Link Up until June since there is already a national Zoom service on the 23rd of May. See you all then!
As we transition into the Pentecost season this month, it is easy to see that the coming of the Spirit changed forever the way the disciples understood not just Jesus, but themselves and their new life. It was the Holy Spirit who transitioned them from students to inspirational, fearless apostles. The transformation was powerful and obvious. During Peter’s discourse in Acts 2 he quotes from Psalm 16. Written by David in the first person, Peter interprets it through the lens of what he had just lived through with Jesus; and realises that David had been inspired to describe what the Messiah was to experience hundreds of years down the track. In reading this text after several weeks of our focus on Jesus’ death and resurrection, I actually saw it from a new (to me) angle—I had always just read it as a proof that Jesus’ death and resurrection had been foretold in the Old Testament, which is true of course. But this time I took more notice of the other phrases and realised it also foretold how it was that Jesus the man, was successful in turning away every temptation large and small, no matter how difficult for 33 years. His secret is spelled out clearly here:
“I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken. Therefore, my heart rejoiced, and my tongue was glad; moreover, my flesh also will rest in hope. For you will not leave my soul in Hades, nor will you allow your Holy One to see corruption. You have made known to me the ways of life; you will make me full of joy in your presence.” Acts 2:25-28 (NKJV)
He describes a relationship so strong there was never a circumstance in Jesus’ life that he did not see God right there with him and therefore also strong enough to see beyond the grave, to live and die knowing the future was not just secure but joyous. The personal bond between Father and Son through the Spirit was deep enough to overlook even death for the joy beyond. I couldn’t help but remember John 17 when I was reading this. It was this same relationship the two of them enjoyed in the Spirit that Jesus was requesting for us: “I am praying for them…(his followers then and us now)…those you have given me, (including many women--his mother, Martha and Mary, Joanna, Susanna and many others whose names we don’t know--and all of us whose names we do know) for they are yours….keep through your name (name in the original includes character) those you have given me that they may be one, even as we are…now I come to you and these things I speak…that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves…I made known to them your name, and will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.” John 17:9-26 (ESV)
Jesus’ prayer was for us to have the same unbreakable bond that he and the Father had—so we could also meet any difficult circumstance by seeing the “Lord always before our face.” Jesus knew he couldn’t humanly do what he had to do without that Spirit bond with the Father and his deepest desire for his followers was that we have that same loving connection with his Father. His prayer was answered when the Spirit arrived on Pentecost. May that bond in the Spirit and Jesus’ own joy overflow in us this Pentecost season!