Do you ever find it difficult to understand what following Jesus means?
The disciples had just spent 3 years with Jesus, following in his footsteps, watching incredible things. They had witnessed his death, and then he had come back to life again. Amazing. Literally. But they still didn’t really understand things fully.
They still asked him about restoring kingdoms to Israel – the Romans had invaded and the Jewish people wanted their land back, and no more taxes. Some heroes a few centuries before had led messy revolts which had killed lots of people and achieved nothing. The land was the land they had been given by God. So they thought having seen God working in power, that would be the next step.
But no. That was not what God had in mind. That was too small. Instead, through Israel, the whole world was about to be changed. Firstly, Jesus had to return to his rightful place as God, and so he went up before their very eyes (and they didn’t understand that really either – I think they spent the rest of the day staring up waiting for him to come back – God had to send some angels to put them on the right track again…). Then the Holy Spirit would come – God living inside each of us who follow him, demonstrating powerful signs and helping the Gospel spread.
Before then, the disciples used a traditional method of working out what God wanted – choosing by lots, and they chose who was to replace Judas as a disciple by rolling some dice. It worked (though I wouldn’t have wanted to be the other guy!) But when the Holy Spirit came, it meant this kind of guesswork was no longer needed – because the Holy Spirit “intercedes” (acts as an intermediate, negotiator, advocate) on our behalf.
Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we can have understanding of what God is doing. We don’t need to feel confused and alone like the disciples did.
Thank you Lord, that you are always with us, and that we are never alone. Help us to understand today what you have done for us. Help us to see you clearly. Amen.
Talk to someone about the bits of faith and being a Christian that you find confusing. Pray together that the Holy Spirit would make them clear.