Where Is The Holy Spirit In All Of This?George Shamblin
The Answer Might Surprise You
* Entire cities seething with rage
* Massive campaigns of distortion and misinformation to sway public opinion
* Christianity shut down at every turn
* Rampant turmoil
* Opposition parties plotting the overthrow of the world’s superpower
* The 10 Commandments banned throughout the public sector
* Mob rule becoming the order of the day
Set against such a disruptive backdrop, who could have guessed the Christian faith would not only survive, but thrive like never before? And yet, that’s exactly what took place in 30 AD through the widespread stirrings of God’s Spirit.
In Acts chapter 1, the initial groundswell of the Gospel’s expansion got off to a rough start. The number of adherents was capped at 11, until an additional member was added, Matthias, bringing the grand total to a mere 12. Even worse, those 12 disciples of Jesus hunkered down in an undisclosed Upper Room with zero intent of venturing out.
That’s when everything began to change in the most dramatic of fashions. Historically, the Gospel tends to favor the unlikeliest of settings for growth, similar to those recounted above (I.e., campaigns of misinformation, entire cities seething with rage, persecution of loyalists to Jesus of Nazareth, etc.).
Jesus had prophesied explosive growth was at hand: “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8) The seismic upsurge of Christianity in the days to come could not be overstated. It was like an earthquake—Jerusalem at the epicenter; primary and secondary shockwaves spreading throughout Judea and Samaria; tremors felt at Earth’s remotest parts.
Then on the Day of Pentecost as recorded in Acts 2, Jesus’ promise of Another Helper—The Comforter —came to pass as The Holy Spirit descended from Heaven in a never-before-seen way:
“When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.” (Acts 2:1-4)
As the dust settled, we’re told devout men from every nation under Heaven “continued in amazement and great perplexity, saying to one another, ‘What does this mean?’” At which time, Peter “took his stand with the eleven, raised his voice and declared to them: ‘Men of Judea and all you who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you and give heed to my words . . . ” (Acts 2:14)
The Greek way of saying “taking his stand” is technically “one who holds the ground and does not hesitate or waver, also of one who in the midst of the fight holds his position.” Which is exactly what Peter and John did as hostile governing authorities commanded them to “stop speaking and teaching at all in the name of Jesus.” How amazing was their fantastic reply: “Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4:19-20) And they were just getting started.
As the Good News of Jesus literally took root “turning the whole world upside-down,” it reminds me of a really sweet memory from childhood. Our house had a vacant lot next door. Since it was springtime, and windy, with an eye on a handful of dandelions near the street, it made perfect sense (at least in my mind, not my mother’s) to snatch the dandelions, blowing out the seeds allowing the crosswinds to scatter them. Of course, my mother came out and fussed at me, she said something having to do with “weeds,” but after she went back inside I resumed scattering seeds the better part of an hour. A few weeks later her comment about “weeds” became evident: never in my life have I seen a more magnificent display of dandelions.
To return to where this blog began, “Where is the Holy Spirit In All Of This?” especially as it relates to America today? The answer remains the same as it was in 30 AD, when Jesus asserted: “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you.”
Given the multitude of crosswinds currently sweeping across our country, Jesus-lovers simply cannot retreat to a modern version of the Upper Room, hunkering down and hiding as if defeated. Rather, I strongly suggest we mimic our spiritual forefathers by speaking a message of 3 R’s like that found in Acts 3:19: “Therefore Repent and Return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of Refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.”
Much like blowing dandelions anticipating future blooms, join me in scattering God’s word trusting He will once again bring about a mighty work!