Jesus made a very important statement to His disciples after the resurrection and before His ascension. “As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you. And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:21-22). Jesus’ ministry began with this divine act; “the Holy Spirit descended on Him in bodily form, like a dove” (Luke 3:22).
Any ministry that is going to be effective and fruitful must begin as Jesus’ ministry began. He was preparing the disciples with this important reminder that they were sent out to do God’s work in the same way Jesus was sent out by the Father. They were not filled with the Holy Spirit until the day of Pentecost, but their hearts needed preparation for this to take place. In a sense, Jesus breathing on them was that regenerational life that only Jesus could impart, making them a suitable temple for the Holy Spirit. The rapid expansion of the church that we see in Acts required willing vessels to receive and be filled with the Spirit sent from the Father.
A. W. Tozer puts the challenge to us in this way; “Before a man can be filled with the Spirit, he must be sure he wants to be. Let this be taken seriously. Many Christians want to be filled, but their desire is a vague romantic kind of thing hardly worthy to be called desire. They have almost no knowledge of what it will cost them to realize it.” The Pursuit of Man, page 131.
I long that everyone reading this blog (and every member of Christ’s body) will become very serious about preparing their heart and life for God’s filling. Our day requires men and women who are filled with the Spirit so that the message of the gospel and truth are proclaimed powerfully in life first, then in word and deed.
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