Waiting where the Lord places us

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Devotional Word for Tuesday, May 26, 2020

We’re in the days between Jesus’ Ascension and the Day of Pentecost. These are days of mystery for us as regards the disciples and followers of Jesus. We know of only one action that took place: the replacement of Judas Iscariot in the number of the Twelve by a fellow named Matthias. We only know about those ten days in general terms; it’s all hazy and misty. What we do know about that time is that it was a time of waiting. 

Here’s what we know Jesus told them they were to do in those days. It is recorded in Acts 1:4-5. Gathering them together, He [Jesus] commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, “Which,” He said, “you heard from Me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

The command Jesus gave them was two-fold: 1) wait in Jerusalem, and 2) they were to receive what the Father had promised, namely, the Holy Spirt. Today, let’s consider those two elements more closely.

If there was any place the followers of Jesus did not want to hang out, most likely it was Jerusalem. Even during the time between the resurrection and the ascension, Jesus had met with His disciples in Galilee. Jesus told Mary Magdalene to tell His disciples that He would meet them in Galilee as He had promised. It was on the shores of the Sea of Galilee that Jesus prepared the breakfast for them. It was after that breakfast that Jesus asked Peter three times if Peter loved Him. Galilee was home territory for them. They felt comfortable there.

Jerusalem? Well, not so much. Remember how on Resurrection Day evening Jesus came to them in the Upper Room? John tells us the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews. [John 20:19] It was His disciples who counseled Jesus NOT to go to Jerusalem. But He, fixing His face like flint, pressed on to Jerusalem. It was at Jerusalem that Jesus overturned the tables of the money changers in temple. The authorities in Jerusalem, just a few weeks earlier (not months!) convicted Jesus of blasphemy and ordered His execution. That execution was carried out, of course, at Jerusalem. I suspect the followers of Jesus did not feel particularly comfortable in Jerusalem. But, just prior to His ascension, Jesus gathers them there and commands them not to leave Jerusalem.

Why? Because something promised is going to be given to them there, at Jerusalem. Exactly what that promise consists of they’re not too certain. It has something to do with the Holy Spirit, and they expect it to be good, but precisely of what it consists, they do not know. But they are to wait for it, they are to expect it, they are to pray for it – and wait in Jerusalem, the city that killed Jesus.

Let’s make some applications to us. Jesus is not averse to putting us in situations where we do not feel comfortable. In fact, we may feel insecure, even threatened. How we feel about the situation does not alter the fact that Jesus put us there and wants us to stay there. In such situations, we need to do what the disciples did: stay and wait.

We should also wait as they did: with expectation, not with fear. Jesus has His own purposes. We may know some His purposes, some part of them, but not all of His purposes. But we trust Him. So, we wait for we know not what! Isn’t that great! Even in our trepidations, we should have great expectations. God will not fail in His purposes for us! May we know that as we wait.

Let us pray: O God, we lift our praise to You. We thank You that You have established Your throne in the heavens, and Your sovereignty rules over all. We bless You for angels, mighty in strength, who do Your will, obeying the voice of Your Word. Thank You for faithful servants down through the ages who have served You doing Your will. May we in our day – and in this particular day – serve You faithfully. Let us wait on You, confident of Your care. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.