Receiving Joy and Strength
There is still another vital aspect to the "why" of Jesus' departure. He said, "If I do not go away, the Helper (Paraclete) will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you." Jesus' departure was tied to Pentecost. There is no Pentecost without ascension. As the invested King of kings, Jesus had the authority together with the Father to send His Holy Spirit in a new and powerful way upon the church. Jesus spoke of a certain necessity of His leaving in order for the Spirit to come. Herein was another great advantage. He declared, "Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost has come upon you" (Acts 1:8, KJV).
Two remarkable things happened to the disciples after Jesus departed. The first is that they "returned to Jerusalem with great joy" (Luke 24:52). They were not despondent over the departure of Jesus. Obviously they finally understood why He was leaving. They understood what, for the most part, the church since then has failed to understand. We live as if it would not have been better for Jesus to leave.
The second obvious change in the lives of the disciples was in their spiritual strength. After Pentecost, they were different people. No longer did they flee like sheep without a shepherd. Instead, they turned the world upside down. They turned the world upside down because they fully understood two simple things: the "where" and the "why" of Jesus' departure.
Coram Deo: Living in the Presence of God
Great joy and spiritual strength are two of the benefits of the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Let Him release these benefits in your life today.
For Further Study
Acts 4:31: "And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness."
Acts 4:33: "And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all."
Acts 4:29: "Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word."
The mission, passion and purpose of Ligonier Ministries and Dr. R.C. Sproul is to help people grow in their knowledge of God and His holiness. For more information, please visit www.ligonier.org or call them at 800-435-4343.
© R.C. Sproul. All rights reserved.
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