Jesus told His disciples that He would have to go away, some time before His crucifixion. When they were sad about this, He consoled them by explaining that the He would send the Holy Spirit.
John 16:7 (WEBBE): 7Nevertheless I tell you the truth: It is to your advantage that I go away, for if I don’t go away, the Counsellor won’t come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.
When Jesus appeared to His disciples after His resurrection, He reminded them again about this promise that He would send the Holy Spirit. And told them that they would be clothed with power when this happens.
Luke 24:46-49 (WEBBE): 46He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, 47and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48You are witnesses of these things. 49Behold, I send out the promise of my Father on you. But wait in the city of Jerusalem until you are clothed with power from on high.”
Another account of this event is found in the first chapter of Acts.
Acts 1:4-5 (WEBBE): 4Being assembled together with them, he commanded them, “Don’t depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which you heard from me. 5For John indeed baptised in water, but you will be baptised in the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
The great commission as recorded in Mark adds more specific details about the powerful signs that will follow believers.
Mark 16:15-18 (WEBBE): 15He said to them, “Go into all the world, and preach the Good News to the whole creation. 16He who believes and is baptised will be saved; but he who disbelieves will be condemned. 17These signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new languages; 18they will take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it will in no way hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
The disciples waited for the fulfillment of this promise in Jerusalem. I can just imagine how excited they must have been! And seven weeks later (what must have felt like a very long time indeed), the Holy Spirit was poured out just as promised.
Acts 2:4 (WEBBE): 4They were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other languages, as the Spirit gave them the ability to speak.
And so the people of Jerusalem saw one of the signs that follow believers – “they will speak with new languages” (Mark 16:17b). And the effect? The sign led them to Jesus! That is what the signs are for.
Peter told the crowd that they could also receive the gift of the Holy Spirit if they repented. Right then and there – no waiting for anything anymore – the Holy Spirit has been poured out already! And if there is any doubt left in our hearts that this promise is also meant for us, read what Peter said:
Acts 2:38-39 (WEBBE): 38Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptised, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39For the promise is to you, and to your children, and to all who are far off, even as many as the Lord our God will call to himself.”
“For the promise is … to all who are far off, even as many as the Lord our God will call to himself.” If you are a believer, the Holy Spirit lives in YOU! The great commission in Mark 16 talks about YOU! Don’t settle for a reality that is less than what Jesus has paid for!