Holy Spirit Story #2

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Acts 1:6-11

6 Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”

7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.

10 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”

CONSIDER THIS

It was Jesus’ last day on planet Earth. I maintain it was the most pivotal day in human history. Jesus moved from Earth to Heaven. He moved from here to there. Why? He moved from here to there so he could move from there to everywhere. How? Through the move-mental power of the person of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit would be the One who would distribute the personal presence of Jesus Christ into the world through his followers as they gathered and scattered throughout the whole Creation. 

It’s fascinating the question they asked Jesus on this, his last day on Earth:

6 Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”

They were still trying to force him into the agenda of their kingdom. Jesus is working to fit them for his Kingdom. Look how he responds:

7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Acts 1:8. These are the most red of all the red letters of Jesus spoken on the most red of all the red letter days of Jesus. The Apostles thought this was all about Israel. Jesus told them it was about the whole world. Jesus was moving from a singular and fixed place the  Earth into the dimension of Heaven, the place from which he could go from there to everywhere on the Earth his people would dare to go. 

9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.

Jesus passed through the thin veil separating the visible dimension of the Earth from the unseen dimension of Heaven. Something tells me he didn’t go up like a balloon, getting smaller and smaller until he disappeared from sight. I get the sense that he passed through a dimensional sense of portal. Here’s what we know—”a cloud hid him from their sight.” 

In other words, Jesus didn’t go “poof,” and become invisible. He physically entered into the unseen realm. At his ascension, Jesus did not become a disembodied spirit and float into the clouds. He entered into Heaven as a person, with a resurrected physical body, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. I love how I once heard Tom Wright put it: “Today, a Jewish Carpenter sits in the Heavens.” 

I want you to humor me today by conducting a simple experiment. Ask someone with you to move to a part of the room you are in where you can no longer see them, or behind the wall into the next room. Once there, ask this question: “Did you become invisible?” Of course not. They are simply unseen. This is exactly how it is with Jesus. He is not invisible; just unseen.

And now I want you to ponder all the implications of this blinding flash of the hidden obvious. Most of us likely think of Jesus as an invisible, disembodied spirit floating around somewhere other than here. He is actually a physically embodied person, not way up high beyond the skies in Heaven—but actually with us—just through the veil, right here and right now. And he sends us the Holy Spirit in such a way that he takes up residence “in” us.

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:18)

THE PRAYER

God our Father, who with your son Jesus, fills us with the Holy Spirit, thank you for your willingness to demonstrate your presence, power, grace, and love in our midst. Open the eyes of our hearts in such a way that we can fix our eyes on Jesus, the unseen One. Sanctify our imaginations to behold him, high and lifted up and yet nearer than our breath. Holy Spirit, fill us afresh to comprehend and perceive these verities. We pray in Jesus’ name,  Amen. 

THE QUESTION

How does it impact your faith to begin to fathom Jesus in this way—physically embodied, actually seated at the right hand of the throne of God, ruling, reigning over the Heavens and the Earth. He is constantly doing things through people like you and me by the power of the Person of the Spirit. And He still makes actual appearances from time to time you know. 

P.S. HOLY SPIRIT SUMMER IS ON LIKE DONKEY KONG!

O.K., friends, if you were encouraged by today’s Holy Spirit Story #2, you must join the LiveStream Book Club launching now. It’s not too late. We will rush you a book. This is what the book is all about—the every day ordinary extraordinary demonstrations of the love of Jesus through the person of the Holy Spirit and how to participate. And its my favorite kind of book—a short one! ;0) (written by one of my heroes) Come on and join in. I’ll be in the club. It will be a veritable faith feast. If you need a scholarship, reply to this email and we will make it happen. 

Yesterday we shipped out another 208 seeds of The Domino Effect. Another 62 will make it 500 today? If these seeds have helped you grow, sow them into someone else. Seeds don’t sow themselves. They require sowers and soil. And the deal stands: two copies for the price of one. Come on, Sowers! 

For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt
Sower-in-Chief
seedbed.com

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WHAT IS THIS? Wake-Up Call is a daily encouragement to shake off the slumber of our busy lives and turn our eyes toward Jesus. Each morning our community gathers around a Scripture, a reflection, a prayer, and a few short questions, inviting us to reorient our lives around the love of Jesus that transforms our hearts, homes, churches, and cities.

Comments and Discussion

3 Responses

  1. J D, it’s not hard for me to perceive Jesus fully embodied in his resurrected, glorified form enthroned next to the Father in heaven. We get a glimpse of it from Daniel’s vision (Daniel 7:13-14), and Stephen’s vision just prior to his stoning. (Acts 7:56). The veil you’ve described is revealed in the story of when Elisha’s servant had his eyes opened that allowed him to see into the spiritual realm and view the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. (2 Kings 6:17) The common idea of heaven being “in a galaxy far away “ or of the disembodied spirits of the saint’s sitting around playing harps in the clouds is a product of pop theology, not the Bible.

  2. Amazing grace and amazing mysticism both demonstrate God’s glory! Let’s embrace them both!

    Christian mysticism is to experience direct connection with and communication from the living resurrected Heaven-based Jesus through His real-life presence in the ever-present Holy Spirit. It’s not some kind of nebulous, subjective, or imaginary experience. It is ultimate reality.

    Christ-centered mysticism is supernatural power from on high. It changes the phrase “Christ in you, the hope of glory,” from mere theology into the inner objectivity of joyous life-changing actuality.

    Too many Christians run from mysticism. They say that such direct encounters with the living Jesus aren’t possible. They keep Jesus at arm’s length by using the academic approach to Him instead of the mystic approach.

    Yesterday my wife and I were praying on the phone with a couple friend. My wife asked them to ask God to open doors of ministry opportunities for me. Sam began to quote Acts 1:6-7. As he quoted it, he paraphrased it by putting my name in it and saying that I will be a witness in various locations.

    So, is Christian mysticism real? Is Jesus really living inside of people and communicating with them today? What are the odds against my friend Sam applying a Scripture to my life one evening and JD using the same Scripture the next day? If that only happened once, you might write it off as coincidence, but things like that happen to me almost every day.

    For more than a year, Jesus has been telling me that He isn’t letting me see a lot of fruit from my writing to protect me from my pride. A couple of weeks ago I read about a Christian book written in 1675 that I had never read, “Pia Desideria” (“Heartfelt Desire for a God-Pleasing Reform of the True Evangelical Church.”) by Philip Jacob Spener, so I ordered it. Last night I began to read it and came to these words by Mr. Spener: “If God does not give you the pleasure of seeing the result of your work quickly, perhaps He intends to hide it from you, lest you become too proud of it. Seeds are there, and you may think they are unproductive, but do your part in watering them, and ears will surely sprout and in time become ripe.”

  3. Thank you Steve .
    These experiences Are so encouraging!

    thank you for steering me to this article and also to your comment.

    What a great and encouraging way to start today! Blessings in Jesus name!

    Sam

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