Imagine what it must have been like for the Apostles as they came to know and love the Lord. The Messiah, the Anointed One of whom Scripture referred was not only there in their midst, but was also teaching them, loving them, and leading them. And, although Scripture and Christ forewarned them of what was to come, it seems they could have never imagined exactly what would happen leading up to and through His crucifixion. They had suffered a great loss and were left afraid and probably disillusioned by the arrest, trial and crucifixion of the Lord. The Bible tells us that they were locked away in an upper room when Jesus first appeared to them as a group. His first words to them were, “Peace be with you.” There was no, “Where’d you all disappear to?” or “How could you do that to me?” or “Thanks a lot for running off, and for denying me.”
There was no condemnation, but a greeting of peace and a reunion so to speak. Imagine what joy they felt as they saw the risen Lord. I think if I was there, my initial reaction would be overflowing joy along with supreme relief and the words, “Oh, thank God! You’re here!” There would be a sense that everything was more than okay again.
I wonder what it was like for the Apostles to learn that Jesus would not physically be staying with them, but needed to ascend to be with His Father. We know that regardless of how it was for them, they carried on and not only did they carry on, but they also helped to expand the numbers of followers of Jesus Christ. They evangelized! In the Acts of the Apostles, we read about the early church and see evidence of trials and tribulations, and victories. The Apostles experienced both joys and sorrows as they strove to live the Good News and to go out into the world and spread it.
How did they go from cowering in an upper room to becoming fearless evangelizers? The Bible tells us they were filled with the Holy Spirit. It also tells us that they had each other. Before that though, they were, and likely continued to be, students of God’s Word and then Jesus’ ways; embracing both as fully as they could. However, it was not until they were filled with the Holy Spirit that they were able to fulfill their mission of evangelization. What a powerful combination! United in faith and filled with and inspired by God’s Word and the Holy Spirit.
I imagine the places the Apostles went, the words they spoke, and the experiences they had would have seemed as being beyond their wildest dreams, but that once filled with the Holy Spirit, there was nothing beyond their wildest dreams, nothing impossible; there was an unwavering hope that can only come from being rooted in God.
Filled with the Spirit, united in faith, and faithful to God and God’s way, how many amazing, beautiful, life-giving things have happened in our lives and in the world, through the course of history, when people have banded together this way. How inspiring, when we, through Jesus, are the best we can be!