“And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.” (Acts 1:4–5, AV)
It is summertime here on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. That means many visitors. Visitors are good for our little piece of the world for with them comes needed revenues to keep this a nice place to visit and live. However, one of the downsides is the traffic. It is often very difficult to get around. So, I try to plan an alternate route with less traffic to my destination when driving. The reason is simple, I am impatient and do not want to wait in bumper-to-bumper traffic. Impatience is one of the flaws that seems to characterize most people in the American culture and probably many cultures around the world. So, being told to wait for anything is very difficult for people. Here, Jesus tells the disciples to wait in Jerusalem until they received the promised Holy Spirit (John 14:17).
Jesus had previously spoken much about the Holy Spirit and what the Holy Spirit would do in their lives. The Holy Spirit would be their Helper (John 14:15). He would be their teacher and bring to their remembrance Jesus’ teachings (John 14:26). He would continue to bear witness of Jesus (John 15:26). He would convict the world regarding sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16:8). He would guide them in all truth and declare the things to come (John 16:13). He would glorify the Father (John 16:15). He would give them power for ministry (Acts 1:8). Well, I could say much more about the ministry of the Holy Spirit, but time will not permit. The point is that Jesus ordered the disciples to wait until they received the promised Holy Spirit.
Now, I can imagine that these disciples having seen Jesus alive, and receiving the Great Commission, would have been itching to get started. Why not? They knew what they were supposed to do and were instructed on how to do it. Yet, it was important for them to wait. They needed something to accomplish this great mission that they still lacked. They needed the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. They needed the leading of the Spirit in ministry. Thus, they had this difficult thing to do, called waiting.
I have discovered in ministry that it is very difficult to wait. Often, we intellectually know what needs to be done, but all the human strength and intelligence we can muster just cannot accomplish it. We somehow have to wait on the leading of the Holy Spirit. The disciples had spent three years with Jesus and received the most excellent training for the mission you could imagine and yet they still needed to wait. This stresses the importance of waiting on God’s timing in ministry. The Holy Spirit will guide us forward at the perfect time and then will empower us to accomplish what we need to do. Today, we need to learn how to wait on God’s timing and follow the leadership of His Spirit in ministry. This waiting is not easy, but it is essential for the church is not built through human might or power, but by the power of God (Zech 4:6).