eMeditation on the Bible
Question: What happened to the kingdom of God in the absence of Jesus?
Story (summary of John 20:19-30 & Acts 2:1-13)
After the resurrection and before Jesus left earth, Jesus spent 40 days with his followers preparing them to put into practice what he taught them and invite others to enter Godís kingdom. During one meeting, Jesus said, ďGod sent me. So now I am sending you.Ē He then breathed on them. He said, ďReceive the Holy Spirit.Ē After Jesus left earth, the power of Godís Spirit within the followers of Jesus was publicly displayed in a dramatic way. They had gathered in the huge courtyard of the temple on the day of a religious feast called Pentecost. Many people from many regions of the Roman Empire were there. Jesusí followers began to boldly speak about the coming of Godís kingdom through Jesus. They were transformed by Godís Spirit from being frightened and confused into courageous public speakers. Additionally, they were beginning to understand what God had accomplished through Jesus and learning to love and care for others.
On earth, Jesus was the visible presence of God in human form. In the absence of Jesus, his followers received the presence of God deep within them by Godís Spirit. Since then, all followers of Jesus receive the Spiritís deep connection with God, which provides the power to grow in love and become mature spiritual daughters and sons of our heavenly father. On the day that the first followers of Jesus were transformed by Godís Spirit during the Feast of Pentecost, the church was born. The church is Godís instrument to bring people into the kingdom of God Ė which is Godís family Ė and spread it to every continent on earth. The church is the totality of all the people who follow Jesus by practicing the core values of Godís family, loving and serving God by loving and serving others.
In the absence of Jesus as the visible presence of God in human form on earth, the presence of God is now deep within us through Godís Spirit when we follow Jesus as Godís authority over our lives. The more we develop our relationship with God as our loving heavenly father, the more Godís love transforms our hearts by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit so that we increasingly share Godís primary nature of love. This is a process that progresses throughout our lives. We do not achieve full spiritual maturity during our lifetime on earth. But the more closely we live in a relationship with God, the more Godís love transforms our hearts by the power of Godís Spirit.
Respond by Growing
Since Godís Spirit is present within you, consider how your life can make God visible to the people around you. In what specific ways can you be the presence of God within your family and among your friends, neighbors and co-workers?
Thank you, dear heavenly father, for the amazing gift of a deep connection with you through the presence of your Spirit within me. Give me the wisdom to cultivate my relationship with you in such a way that I can grow spiritually and become mature as your son/daughter.