The Cloud of Witnesses
Former title Lessons From the People of the Bible
Lesson 4: Mary – The Spirit-filled Disciple
Acts 1:1-14; 2:1-4.
The Spirit-filled Disciple
Mary went for ‘gold’. I guess in one way she would have had every right to sink into despair when Jesus died. She had been through so much already – it seemed like the last straw. Her emotional tank, which had been running on empty, was now exposed to the proverbial ‘smell of an oily rag.’ What kept her hanging on? What hope caused her to see past Calvary and Joseph of Arimathea’s garden tomb?
Her trust in the Scriptures. The Scripture that promised that God’s chosen One would not see decay. He had to rise from the dead. Once He had done that, the next phase had to kick into gear. Jesus promised to send “Another Counsellor”, the Holy Spirit, who would come and remain with them after He ascended back to His Father.
Yes, the disciples were to wait in Jerusalem to receive the power from on high, from the Holy Spirit. The disciples stayed together as a group and had some house-keeping to do – to choose someone to replace Judas Iscariot as one of the leadership team of Apostles. So they waited and prayed – and chose Matthias.
But their wait wasn’t over. They still had to wait for the Holy Spirit – but when He came… Wow, what a change! Peter, the timid man who had denied even knowing Jesus, became the leader-spokesman. He let the inquisitive multi-ethnic crowd realise that the disciples were far from being drunk with wine – they were filled with the Holy Spirit. And just as with a sponge drenched in water, having been baptised with the Holy Spirit, the disciples were letting the power of the Spirit ooze out over everywhere.
Just as the Holy Spirit had come on Mary at the conception of Jesus, so now He filled her again, but this time in a whole new way. Before this, the filling was at a specific time for a specific purpose – at Pentecost it was once and for always.
That awesome power had come into her body once more but this time to stay forever.
Yes, Mary had a privileged life. Yes, Mary was a one off and yes, Mary was allowed experiences we can only imagine or dream of. But let’s not forget she was human. She was a girl who loved God and offered herself completely and utterly to God for Him to use in whatever way He chose.
God is still seeking men and women (and can I add young men and young women) who will be humble enough, who will be heaven-focused (instead of earth-focused) enough for Him to use. They are the ones who realise that they are nothing without God, and yet also know that nothing is impossible with God.
People who will stop long enough to consider their life purpose and ask God to write His agenda in the diary of their lives and erase all other appointments.
They are the people who in the power of the Holy Spirit will turn this world the right side up and usher in the Kingdom of God to earth - God’s history-makers. Will you be one?
Mary would say to us today...
I’m so glad I waited with the other disciples for that wonderful day when we were all filled with the Holy Spirit. He made such an amazing difference to all our lives. We received a joy and power we never knew before and would never be without – it transformed our lives and society.
Father, I long to be a history-maker for You. I commit my life to You again and ask You to fill me with your Holy Spirit and to use me for the extension of Your Kingdom on earth. Amen.
Joel 2:25-32; Acts 2:23-31; Acts 10:1-48.
Why are people afraid of the Holy Spirit?
What difference does the filling of the Holy Spirit make to your life?
In what ways do you want to be a history-maker this year?