Reading: Acts Chapter 1
By Pastor Alex and Sarah Mack
The word perimenein is used for Jesus’ command to “wait for” the promised Holy Spirit. There is a stress in this Greek word on continual remaining, which endures through definite difficulties, perseveres despite the hindrances. This was the disciples’ stance while awaiting the gift of the Father. We can only imagine what fears they might have had knowing the authorities had just crucified their master, or perhaps= the desire or pressure to go and do other things. That is to say nothing of the many mental distractions that come with seeking God in prayer. They were most certainly waiting in the place of prayer, actively seeking and petitioning God; Luke writes, “These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer” (v. 14). Think of the challenge of simply remaining in devoted prayer as a group, rather than getting side tracked with other activities. Yet, God gave the disciples grace to persevere, and the result changed them forever…and turned the world upside down!
Think of that upper room and the consecration that occurred there. In the middle of the bustle of the city, in the middle of the religious hypocrisy continuing right around them, in the midst of humanity who had just put to death the Author of Life, about 120 people are huddled together in an upper room to seek God. They are putting aside all else to prepare themselves to receive the Holy Spirit. They were in the city, but because of their obedience to Jesus, the city was not in them. Praise God. And soon, the Spirit who is infinitely greater than the spirit of the world would be in them. I am reminded of this charge from Hebrews: “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:24-25). Something happens when the body of Christ comes together and prays. And hope allows us to continue persevering until the Holy Spirit comes.
How are we doing? What is our spiritual temperature? Might God be calling us to greater devotion in prayer as a body of believers? Is God calling you to press through the distractions and hurdles, and lay hold of the prize He has for you as you seek Him? I pray that you and I will have the tenacious devotion and the persevering faith of the first disciples.