After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. 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 baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
After his resurrection, Jesus met with, cooked for, and gave instructions to his disciples. Before ascending to heaven Jesus promised the baptism of the Holy Spirit to his disciples – the comfort and power of God’s presence.
Evidence of divine presence and activity in the world comes in many forms. We hear of and pray for revival – that communities and individuals will have new life breathed into and through them by the power of the Holy Spirit. We seek renewal daily – asking the Lord for our daily bread and new mercy each morning to refresh us. We endure temporary suffering knowing that Christ ultimately defeated death and will one day wipe all tears away - making all things new. Until then, we are reminded that Jesus suffered, and is able to understand our pain and comfort us in our grief. And minister to us through the peace, presence, and power of the Holy Spirit.
A story is told in our own College community from the early years of the NZ Bible Training Institute (pre-BCNZ and Laidlaw College) under J.O. Sanders’ leadership:
During his years at the Institute he experienced occasions when the Holy Spirit sovereignly came upon the student body. Walking to church one Sunday evening, he felt a strong urge to return home and pray for blessing on the College. The next morning, as he gave a devotional message to the students, there was an unusual air of expectancy. Kneeling to pray together, the whole student body was gripped in a spirit of prayer. Lectures were abandoned for three days as they waited on God – for many, these were life-changing days.
(Selection from: https://www.laidlaw100.ac.nz/p... )
The following offerings from The Reaper magazine remind us of some of the daily implications of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, in our ordinary lives.
IN CHRIST - TO TRIUMPH
While a student at the NZ Bible Training Institute (1961-1962), John Harverson signed his name beside the hymn “God holds the key to all unknown, and I am glad”. He followed his signature with 2 Corinthians 2:14 – his favourite verse.
John went on to serve as a pilot with Mission Aviation Fellowship in Papua New Guinea (with his wife Joan and two children). On the morning of 23 June 1967, John took off from his home base of Wewak, and flew to Telefomin, where he picked up two Baptist Bible College students before heading for Olsobip. Radio contact was lost along the way and they were never heard from again. Despite extensive searching, nothing was ever found of the plane or its passengers.
In the Reaper (5 June 1968), fellow student John Hitchen noted that the words of 2 Corinthians 2:14* took on a new significance and penned these lines in Harverson’s memory:
"Thanks be to God" the Scripture pleads,
For in His Son He always leads
His child in paths of triumph.
But Lord, when faced with depths of grief,
A life so useful made so brief –
How can I still be thankful?
My earth-bound eye can't seem to see
How tragedy is victory,
And yet, Your Word declares it.
I want to learn Your ways, O Lord,
So show the meaning of this Word,
For faith still loves with sorrow.
God leads this means You go before
Each step of life an open door
Prepared - by You our Leader.
God ALWAYS leads us; and can it be
You lead us yet in tragedy?
Yes Lord, but what purpose?
"My goal? My child I need to share
My fragrant knowledge everywhere;
But sharing thus is costly.
"To spread this fragrance there must be
An echo of Calvary,
And Calvary was tragic.
"Your loved one's life so sweet to you
Poured out like Christ's in service true
To Me was sweet aroma.
"Dare to believe that through this death
I can impart life-giving breath,
To many in this Nation.
"Again, My child, note how I lead,
"In triumph" and "In Christ" you read,
For these both go together.
"In fellowship with Christ must be
Sure triumph; as at Calvary;
"In Christ" death is not final.
"My Child, let this your comfort be
That in My hand I hold the key
To Victory Eternal."
Thank you, my God, for patiently,
Reminding of this Victory,
By faith I start to learn.
Thanks be to God, by faith I rest,
Your leading now I see is best;
In Christ there is a future.
In trust my mind's content to praise
Your Hand of Grace that in strange ways,
Still leads in Christ to triumph.
- John M. Hitchen
From: The Reaper, Vol. XLVIII, No. 5 June 1968, p161.
*2 Corinthians 2:14 (NIV)
But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere.
We cry, and sigh, O Lord,
We long that Thou should'st come,
To show Thine own Almighty power
In bringing sinners home.
Thou wilt revive us Lord,
Aflame our souls shall be.
The Holy Spirit give,
Let us not grieve Thy grace,
May we bow down in humble prayer
Before our Father's face.
The Spirit's power shall rest upon
Us, as we bow to Thee.
Men shall receive the fire
Women and children too.
They cry aloud with tears, 0 to
Be saved-what must we do?
Believe on Christ the Lord,
Who died lost souls to win
Who suffered death on Calvary's cross
That we might enter in
To peace, and holiness,
While on this earth we stay.
And after death in heaven above
To dwell in endless day.
O let us never cease
To cry unto the Lord,
For multitudes shall turn to Him.
According to His word.
Monthly Poem by Mrs. M. A. Binnie from: The Reaper, Vol. VI February 1929, Gleanings, p265.
FOR FURTHER REFLECTION AFTER EASTER WEEKEND
Ponder these questions as we move from Holy Week and Easter back into our ordinary rhythms:
- What aspect of the Easter story have you encountered this week that you would like to reflect on in greater depth?
- In the forty days after his resurrection, Jesus met with his disciples and told them to wait for the gift of the Holy Spirit to come after Jesus had ascended. Is there anything for which you are waiting expectantly – something you are relying completely on the Lord to provide? You might want to talk with Jesus about this.
- Consider the Holy Spirit’s peace, presence and power. Is there a part of your life where you would like refreshment and renewal by the Holy Spirit? Ask Jesus for what you need, what you long for. Consider how our Heavenly Father invites you to be part of his work of renewal today, this week, this year.