The Advent Part 4
Even throughout His ministry we see Jesus being filled by the Holy Spirit and led by the Spirit. The Holy Spirit was ever present in the life of Christ, even before His death, burial and resurrection, and the advent of the Holy Spirit, or the outpouring thereof was simply a continuation of Christ’s ministry here on earth after His ascension.
Luke 4:1-2, “Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned form the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being tempted for forty days by the devil. And in those days He ate nothing, and afterward, when they had ended, he was hungry.”
Everything that Jesus did, or does, is through the Holy Spirit. Likewise, in order for the things that we do to be useful and true, in order for the things that we do to be beneficial to the kingdom of God, they must be done through the Holy Spirit, and by the unction of the Holy Spirit.
In the first eleven verses of the book of Acts we see four critical moments in the life of Christ Jesus our Lord. In the third verse, we see two of these four critical moments, namely His suffering, and His resurrection, which are two essential components in the preaching of the gospel. From the beginning, the sufferings of Christ, and the resurrection of Christ were elements upon which the Disciples of Christ insisted in their preaching, and they must likewise be elements upon which we must focus.
The Son of God came in the flesh that He might die so that we might be saved, yet death could not hold Him, the grave could not claim Him. He rose again on the third day, that we might know He is God, and that if we are in Him we will likewise one day arise.
1 Corinthians 15:3-6, “For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died four our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present but some have fallen asleep.”
By revealing Himself to His disciples, by allowing them to see Him, and touch Him, and talk to Him, the truth concerning the resurrection of Christ was proven and solidified. The undeniable proof of His resurrection was the fact that He showed Himself, alive to His disciples for forty days, eating and drinking with them.
Luke 24:38-43, “And He said to them, ‘why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts? Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.’ When He had said this He showed them His hands and His feet. But while they still did not believe for joy, and marveled, He said to them, ‘Have you any food here?’ So they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish and some honeycomb, and He took it and ate in their presence.”
This was no mass conspiracy, it was no mass delusion, Paul attests to the fact that not only was Jesus seen by Peter, also known as Cephas, and by the twelve, but by over five hundred brethren at once. Some had fallen asleep, but the greater part of them remained upon Paul’s writing of his first epistle to the Corinthians.
Both Luke and Paul were educated men, Luke being a doctor, Paul having been groomed from early youth to become a Pharisee. These were men with options, men who could have succeeded in life, men who would have climbed the social ladder, and in their own right become men of influence and renown. If there had been no truth concerning the resurrection of Christ, if there had been no truth concerning the nature of Jesus, these men would have readily disavowed themselves of the entire thing, pursuing their careers, and doing other things.
No man would give up the trappings of this life as Paul and Luke would have had access to for a lie, no man would choose to be hunted and hounded, beaten and tortured, maligned and despised rather than live peaceably in a nice home, with a family and loved ones for something they knew to be a fallacy. These men were committed unto death because the reality of Christ’s suffering, death, and resurrection, the reality of whom Jesus was, was undeniable, self-evident, unshakeable, and cemented in their hearts.
They had the testimonies of the brethren, they had their own personal experiences with Christ, and they could not deny what their eyes had seen, what their ears had heard, what their hands had felt, and the transformation that had taken place in their hearts.
If the reality of Christ is cemented in our hearts, if we know, that we know, that we know that He is Lord and King, Savior and Redeemer, the Son of God come in the flesh, then we will follow Him with rejoicing even when the path becomes difficult to walk, even when opposition swells up against us, even when persecution becomes a way of life, and the probability that we will sooner or later have to lay down our lives for the cause of Christ becomes all the more plausible.
These men didn’t just raise a hand in a crusade then went on about their lives as if nothing had happened. These men did not remain as they were before their encounter with the Christ, they were radically transformed, their lives were no longer their own, and the sum of their existence was now the preaching of the Gospel of Christ. It is this level of commitment that God requires of His servants; it is this level of devotion that God demands, wherein we place nothing above His will, be it family, friends, jobs, positions or ourselves.
It is the belief that we can have all of God and the world concurrently that keeps many believers from knowing the fullness of the God they purport to serve. Either we are God’s in totality, with every fiber of our being, with every breath that we take, or we are of no use to Him.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.