1 In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach,2 until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. 3 He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.
4 And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; 5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
Businesses that span multiple generations aren’t rare, that is unless they are family businesses.
As of 2017, the award for “oldest family business in the world” went to a hotel in Japan called, Hoshi Ryokan. This business has been run by the same family since the year 718, which represents an unbelievable 46 generations! Only 30% of family businesses survive to the second generation, and that number drops to a mere 3% that survive four generations or more.
Obviously, passing on the values and passion for an organization is a difficult task and is frequently unsuccessful.
But this is precisely what Luke tells us Jesus intends to accomplish – in fact, the argument could be made from Acts 1 that Jesus only intended to accomplish two things by appearing to His disciples after His resurrection:
First: to prove His bodily resurrection actually happened.
Second: to teach and establish patterns of living that would ensure the family business would continue after His ascension.
Luke tells us clearly that Jesus did everything He could to train, teach and temper His disciples but knew all along that it wouldn’t be enough to sustain them in the challenging days that were ahead of them. So Jesus’ final command wasn’t about ethic, scripture memorization or church politics – it was the simple instruction to wait. Wait in Jerusalem.
Wait for what?
Wait for what the Father had promised them. Remember? The promise Jesus had told them about.
There are a few passages that Jesus could be referring to. But the big picture is clear: Jesus knew that His followers would need the indwelling, empowering, intimate and enabling presence of the Holy Spirit if the Kingdom community He had established was going to continue beyond His departure.
Jesus knew that His followers would need the indwelling, empowering, intimate and enabling presence of the Holy Spirit if the Kingdom community He had established was going to continue beyond His departure.Tweet
We have to remember, these were not uninitiated men and women. They’d walked with Jesus and talked with Jesus. These were the very people who had seen and heard and eaten with Jesus after His resurrection! If they needed the Holy Spirit to keep the family business going, how much more do we?
Jesus has entrusted the reputation of His family name to us. But He knew, perhaps more than anyone else in the world, how difficult it is to live up to that standard. So He and His Father made us a promise: you don’t have to do it alone. The Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead has been promised to us. And that’s why Christianity is a longer running family endeavor than even Hoshi Ryokan.
Are you trying to keep your faith moving forward using your own strength? Maybe you don’t need to keep grinding under the same old management because what you really need is to surrender the day-to-day operations to the promised Spirit of God.
Are you ready to wait?
Do you long for a sustainable faith?
Right now is the best time to go to the Lord in prayer and ask for the fullness of this promise in your life. It’s God’s promise, not your power that makes a long-running, vibrant and effective faith possible.