For three years, these men had travelled together, prayed together, eaten together, rested together, worked together, argued together, jested together, celebrated together, witnessed in awe, the miracles of their teacher.... together. Throughout it all, they had grown in boldness and strong character . They had become a band of brothers, committed to the cause, willing to follow their leader with a devotion that was deeper than any other they had ever felt in earthly fellowships.
And now, the One who had gathered them, motivated a courage in them they had not known, exposed them to truths they had never heard, delivered miracles before them they had never imagined, charged them to stay the course they had begun....... was leaving them?
I can only imagine they must have felt something pretty close to abandonment. They were treading some pretty stormy waters at the time. The sentiments against Christ were starting to heat up and the roads they were travelling required large measures of courage to remain steady and not retreat from the rising opposition.
The following scene from the Forrest Gump movie enters my mind at this point. Forrest Gump has run across the United States and back, with many committed followers now running behind him. Suddenly in mid stride he slows to a complete stop, turns around and declares that he's tired now, and thinks he'll go home. The followers are incredulous. They have followed him down many a road. He had given them something to pursue in life... a cause...shallow as it may have been. Now they ask among themselves "what are we supposed to do now?" The one whom they were following is quitting on them.... walking away with the very motivation and inspiration that had kept them running. Their dismay and disappointment, approaching even anger is obvious.
Pardon my "Hollywood selection" in an attempt to set the stage for what was a very believable possibility of the true life drama unfolding in this moment between a leader and his followers. This small band of ordinary men with very human emotions and very intense loyalties to their leader must have felt abandoned. The honor and commitment amongst these men was one that I'm sure they would have given their lives for one another at this point, if pressed to do so. They were willing to go wherever it was that Jesus was going rather than stay behind.
Christ must have felt a deep and tender love for these brothers He was about to die for. It is at this time, that He unveils one of the deep secrets of the Heavenly realm so far away and unreachable in our minds. He would never leave them. In fact, He reassured them that there was One coming who would take His place, and yet.. it would still be Christ with them.
"And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you. No, I will not abandon you as orphans—I will come to you. Soon the world will no longer see me, but you will see me. Since I live, you also will live. When I am raised to life again, you will know that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you." John 14:16-20
How confusing the words of Christ must have been to these founders of the faith. How could they understand, how could they know the miraculous power and intimate communion they would receive from One whose time and appointment had not yet arrived? How could they know that the Spirit indwelling would fill them with as much joy and intense devotion for their Lord as if He was still there amongst them fellowshipping with them in person? It could not have been conceivable. It was an "out-of-this-world" yet "in-this-world" gift yet to burst upon the scenes of a world being impacted for God by humans transformed by the Spirit.
I find great comfort in the words "I will not abandon you as orphans." The King James version states, "I will not leave you comfortless. I will come to you."
As redeemed disciples of our Lord and Savior today, post-resurrection, we have the privilege of experiencing this revelation immediately. The Spirit enters into us the moment we accept Jesus as our Savior and Lord. This is no small thing.
Jesus Christ the Son of God walked this earth. He came to reveal in the flesh, the love and compassion of our Heavenly Father. He desires for us to experience the reality of our Divine Creator. He wants to reassure us that we have a Comforter, a Defender, a Source of strength that accompanies us as we walk the broken roads of this brief earthly lifetime before us.
WE ARE NOT ALONE. WE WALK WITH ONE WHO ACTS UPON AND PROMOTES THE VERY PLANS OF GOD ALMIGHTY IN OUR LIVES. HE WILL SEE IT DONE.
The mystery of the Holy Spirit, the very presence of the almighty God Himself indwelling you and me is nothing short of a miracle. It is above our thoughts and brain capacities to grasp the meaning of it all. It is in the realm of the impossible for us as humans in our broken and unglorified state to take hold of such intangible truths. And so it is, that by FAITH, we believe. By FAITH, we hold these truths to be alive and real and believable, because of the experiences we live out of the acts of God in our lives. His inspirations and motivations in our Spirits cannot be ignored, even if we cannot explain them.
This is a Heavenly gift... a spiritual treasure. It was given to the disciples of the early church, and it is given to the followers of Jesus Christ today. Do not neglect the promptings and strength welling up from within by the Spirit who is your Counselor and your Comforter. He is the One who walks with you today, even as Jesus Christ walked with the Twelve during His time here on earth.
Are you experiencing the intimate communion that is at your disposal with the Holy Spirit who resides in you today?
Are you fellowshipping with the Divine Friend, the closest Comforter you have on this earth, the One sent by Jesus Christ your Lord to stand in His place?
Do you know the encouragement of this One who would support you and defend you in your everyday battles?
Do you have the peace and security from knowing that this One in you can intercede on your behalf before God in a language that you cannot even express as you pray? He can take the desires of your heart and then interpret those prayers so that as they ascend before the Father, they are lined up underneath the very will of God. In return, only God's plans will be accomplished, and not the misguided petitions arising out of a child whose visions are limited to the ways of an all-knowing God.
This is the friendship you have in such an unspeakable gift that was given by the One who gave His life for you, and imparts Himself to you in the form of the Holy Spirit.
I pray that you and I will know and experience the power and reality of the "hagios pneuma", literally the "holy wind or breath" that God has placed within our souls, housed in these weak and puny earthsuits we daily walk in. The very manifestation of this truth is that God can instill His Divine attributes and character in us!
Our physical bodies need to constantly breathe in air to survive in this world. If we stop, we will die. Our spiritual souls need to breathe the holy breath of the Spirit if we are to survive the spiritual battles we will face and have to confront as we remain in this physical realm.
This air we breathe is invisible, only seen when it causes movement in the physical world we see with our physical eyes. Even so the Holy Spirit is invisible, and only seen in the movement He causes and stirs up with His "dynamis" power. It is huge. It is translated into our word for dynamite! This is the power source you have IN YOU!
Believe this truth that is revealed to you from God's Holy Word. When He claims that ALL things shall be possible for you through Christ, who is in you, in the form of the Holy Spirit, it is your reality to claim.
Love the Lord your God with all of your heart and soul and mind.
Live for Christ your brother and Redeemer and most loyal friend with all that you have to give.
Lean on the Holy Spirit, your closest advocate and comforter in this world!
You are not left alone in this world to tread the stormy waters and walk the broken roads that you will come to face. There is One in you who has the dynamite power that conquered death itself. It is this powersource that you are given to fight the good fight, stay the course, and win the race God has placed you in.
Believe it. Draw from it. Conquer with it.
Begin today, in this Holy week approaching Easter, to live the life God has called you to pursue.
As the disciples many years ago stepped out and drew from their newfound source of strength, so you and I can do the same.
What dynamite impact will we have in someone's life this week? Only God Knows!!
Blessings and Courage!