On Pentecost God poured out a promise on Jesus' followers. Jesus, and prophets before him, spoke of God acting in the lives of the faithful. A part of me asks, "What is it, what is this promised outpouring from God?" The scripture says it 's the Holy Spirit, fire, the Advocate, power from on high. Jesus promised his friends a gift that would enable them to carry on his ministry through them and with them in the world.
- The prophet Joel put it this way, "...it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon allflesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dreamdreams, your young men shall see visions." Joel 2:28
- John spoke prophetically of Jesus pouring out the Spirit saying, "I baptize you with water for repentance, but one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire." Matthew 3:11
- Jesus told his friends of the struggles they would face on his behalf encouraging them, "When they bring you to trial and hand you over, do not worry beforehand about what you are to say; but say whatever is given you at that time, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit." Mark 13:11 NRSV
- The night of the last supper Jesus told his friends gathered in the upper room, "When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who comes from the Father, he will testify on my behalf. John 15:26 NRSV
- After rising from the dead and just before return to heaven Jesus said, "And see, I am sending upon you what my Father promised; so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high." Luke 24:49 NIV
The ministry Jesus sent his friends out into the world to complete is our mission as church today. We go out not alone, but with God present, poured out into our lives. One of the most important promises we recieve on this earth is the promise of God's presence. As a believer these words of promise give me great hope; because God goes with me.
Looking back modern believers aren't alone in that hope. For Marting Luther King jr that promise to never be alone appeared to give him hope and strength in the face of obstacles. In a sermon entitled, Unfulfilled Dreams delivered at Ebenezer Baptist Church, Atlanta, Georgia, on March 3, 1968, King spoke with confidence in God's presence with him. (Please note the words in paranthesis were the response from the congregation)
It will be dark sometimes, and it will be dismal and trying, and tribulations will come. But if you have faith in the God that I’m talking about this morning, it doesn’t matter. (Yes) For you can stand up amid the storms. And I say it to you out of experience this morning, yes, I’ve seen the lightning flash. (Yes, sir) I’ve heard the thunder roll. (Yes) I’ve felt sin-breakers dashing, trying to conquer my soul. But I heard the voice of Jesus, saying still to fight on. He promised never to leave me, (Yes, sir) never to leave me alone. (Thank you, Jesus) No, never alone. No, never alone. He promised never to leave me. Never to leave me alone. (Glory to God)
King found reason to hope and strength to press on. May all who believe in Christ be so boldly strengthened by his power that we can go into the world just as he did with power and strength.