In the Waiting (17-05-21)
Bible Reading: Acts 1:1-5
Dear Theophilus: In my first book I wrote about all the things that Jesus did and taught
from the time he began his work until the day he was taken up to heaven.
Before he was taken up, he gave instructions by the power of the Holy Spirit
to the men he had chosen as his apostles.
For forty days after his death he appeared to them many times
in ways that proved beyond doubt that he was alive.
They saw him, and he talked with them about the Kingdom of God.
And when they came together, he gave them this order:
"Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift I told you about, the gift my Father promised.
John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit."
The book of Acts, like the Gospel of Luke, is written by Luke to his distinguished friend Theophilus (in Luke 1:3 he calls him ‘Your Excellency!) The name ‘Theophilus’ can mean both ‘Loved by God’ and ‘Lover of God’. As one who is loved by God, and who is growing in your love for God, these scriptures are written for you, to enrich and sustain your faith and to lead you into a better understanding and a deeper relationship with God.
Luke, who was a doctor and a colleague of Paul’s on his missionary journeys, used eyewitness accounts and his studies to write an orderly account, in his Gospel about the things that happened throughout Jesus’ life and ministry, and in Acts, about the things that happened in the Early Church. His use of eyewitness accounts adds validity to his writings. Of the resurrection of Jesus Luke says, ‘For forty days after his death he appeared to them many times in ways that proved beyond doubt that he was alive.’
In the time between the resurrection and the ascension, Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift I told you about, the gift my Father promised’. Jesus is referring here to the gift of the Holy Spirit which the Early Church would receive at Pentecost.
‘Wait’, Jesus says. Something is going to happen. Something better is about to come; but wait. In an era of instant food and instant deliveries, I don’t think many of us find it easy to wait. To some extent we have had to wait over the last year, wait for infection rates to fall, wait for our vaccinations, wait to meet up with our friends and family and wait for the end of lockdown.
Waiting is not easy but in the waiting we can learn things about ourselves and about God. In the waiting we learn that God’s timescale is not the same as our timescale. In the waiting we learn that God has things to teach us about ourselves that we wouldn’t learn once we have arrived. In the waiting we might also learn that it is not us that is waiting for God, but that it is God who is waiting for us.
God waited for the right time for his Son to be revealed to the world. God waited for the right time to send his Holy Spirit on the Early Church and God is waiting for the right time to reveal more of himself to us. Will you wait?
Lord God, give me the patience to wait for you to reveal yourself to me, and the grace to not keep you waiting for me.
I will wait