NEW EXPERIENCE, SAME RELATIONSHIP
Thursday, November 30, 2017
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“After [Jesus] said this, He was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid Him from their sight.” Acts 1:9

Imagine for a moment how the disciples would have felt when Jesus ascended into heaven. More than anyone, they had firsthand experience of what it means to have a relationship with Jesus. They had spent the last three years in ministry with Him, wandering around Judea and the surrounding countryside to preach about the coming kingdom of heaven and new life that comes from believing in Jesus. They found assurance in knowing that Jesus was physically with them and easily accessible.

They had entered Jerusalem to a hero’s welcome with many Jews believing that Jesus was about to establish a kingdom that would overthrow the Romans. They laid branches of palm trees along His path and hailed His presence, singing, “Blessed is the kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest heavens!” (Mark 11:10). But within the week, Jesus was condemned to die as a criminal and nailed to a cross, turning all that excitement into frantic fear, disillusionment and confusion.

We can only imagine the terror the disciples would have felt when Jesus died. They must have wondered if the entire ministry Jesus had begun was about to collapse, but three days later, Jesus rose from the dead, and appeared to His disciples. They quickly regained the confidence and hope they had lost during His arrest, trial and crucifixion. But then the tables take another turn. Again, we can well imagine how confused they were when Jesus challenged their preconceptions about the nature of His kingdom by leaving. Rather than proclaiming Himself a king on earth, Jesus ascended into heaven with only the promised coming of the Holy Spirit to comfort their fears.

It would be ten more days before the disciples learned what we now know. Even though Jesus is no longer physically with us on earth, this has not stopped Him from establishing His kingdom through generations of believing men, women and children who continue to live in an abiding relationship with Him. The nature of our relationship with Christ might look different since the coming of the Holy Spirit, but this is merely a new, spiritual experience of the same relationship the disciples had experienced physically with Jesus.

This new experience of relationship with God by the indwelling of His Spirit is to our benefit. Before Pentecost, the disciples were limited to a relationship with Jesus in a specific place and time. After Pentecost, every person who believes in Jesus has been indwelt by the Holy Spirit, which gives them direct access to God through Christ at any time anywhere because Christ lives within us – a new experience, but the same relationship of love, trust and dependency the disciples shared with Jesus.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, thank You for sending Your Spirit to indwell me. Though I do not physically see You, I am grateful that I can come to know You more deeply and fully by the work of Your Spirit in me. Thank You, Lord.


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