On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptised with the Holy Spirit.”
For Luke, the Holy Spirit is pivotal to life in the kingdom. Major moments and shifts in the life of Jesus and the life of the church are marked by the activity of the Holy Spirit. The incarnation, the commissioning of Jesus at his baptism, the empowering of the church, the martyrdom of Steven, the appointment of Paul and the spread of the kingdom to the gentiles. Following Jesus death they have wondered and wandered. Reading the gospel accounts of the 40 days following Jesus resurrection we find the disciples in various states of wonder and confusion. They have walked and even returned to the fishing of their previous lives. In these last few moments with Jesus they are called to a fresh focus and expectancy. It is almost possible to hear an ‘again’ in Jesus’s direction: “don’t leave Jerusalem again, but wait …” The disciples knew full well what the gift they were to wait for was but I doubt they knew, or could have coped with knowing, what the gift would cause them to do for their saviour and friend. They had each known John’s baptism and had all experienced the Holy Spirit working through them. What Jesus ha promised is something more – a baptism in the Holy Spirit. For Jesus, that Holy Spirit baptism has brought a physical manifestation, an audible confirmation of sonship and delight and a propelling into miraculous revelation of the Kingdom of God.
What do you imagine the disciples expectation of Holy Spirit baptism looked like? What is your expectation and experience?
God of the unexpected let me trust your flawless timing. And baptise me again and again in your Holy Spirit.