50 And he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them. 51 While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven. 52 And they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, 53 and were continually in the temple blessing God.
From my youth, when I read this portion of Scripture my heart would ache. It felt as if He had left us and I would recall the words of Jesus I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves… Matthew 10:16. I felt emotional, heart sore and deserted. I knew that the Lord had said it is better for you that I go because if I did not leave I would not send the Comforter. If Jesus was on earth today he would have spoken one language and only one group of people would have understood him. One advantage when He left, was that His spirit speaks to each person in the language they can understand. He speaks to a king in his language, to the drunkard on the street in his language and in this way we experience His presence. He knows each person in his circumstances, how they grew up, what was done to them and what they have done. In the context of your language he speaks in a way that you can understand.
The murderer who hung on the cross next to Jesus, who was in His presence minutes before he died said, “Lord, please remember me when you come into your kingdom.” This is not a human reaction. Hanging there, he would have been in extreme pain and the last thing he would be thinking of is that the man next to him was the Messiah and that He would take him heaven. The normal reaction is the reaction of the man on the other side of Jesus who was angry and frustrated and said, “If you are the king, save yourself and us.” Friend, what is your reaction as you go through life? Have you got the normal human reaction? Where you hold grudges against people and society for what they have done to you like Job’s wife who said to him, “Curse God and die.” Many people live daily with an attitude of “cursing God and dying” because they hate what has happened to them. They curse God because He has given them such a husband, such a wife, such children, such parents. You curse God because you grew up poor and never got anywhere in life. You curse God because people did not treat you fairly and it is not right. Somehow you want to get them back because of what they have done to you. Or do you have the attitude of the criminal on the other side? “We suffer because we are guilty.”
I have a t-shirt that was made for me. I have worn it 3 times. Whenever I wear it I get a reaction. It is black with white letters, “My therapist says it is your fault.” No matter who you are or where you come from, it is always someone else’s fault. It makes you feel good because you are a victim. You feel justified. But God’s word says it starts with you. You must make your relationship right with God. Thank God that Jesus left and sent the Comforter to speak to us. The Comforter speaks to everyone – the murderers, the addicts, the alcoholics and also the Pharisees – in the language he/she understands. We thank you Lord that You ascended so that Your Holy Spirit can speak to the Pharisee in the language he/she will understand.
Initially when Jesus called the Pharisees whitewashed tombs, I thought they had a different theology to Jesus or they interpreted things differently but their sin was pride. They thought they were better. Jesus called them white washed tombs. White is a sign of purity. Jesus did not call them decorated tombs, He used white i.e. you display a picture of purity, holiness and following God but under the ground in the grave are bones and rotten flesh. Maybe they really had skeletons in their cupboards and they were responsible for the death of people. They were hiding rotten evil while they were attending the synagogue every day. Why did Jesus use such a radical example? Woe to you because on the outside you are white but inside you have skeletons of evil that you are hiding.
Now that Jesus had left the earth, His Spirit will speak to everyone who is willing to listen to what He says. In Matthew 15:12-14 12 Then the disciples came and said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?” 13 He answered, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up. 14 Let them alone; they are blind guides.[c] And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.” When His disciples told Jesus how He had offended the Pharisees, Jesus’ response was “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up.” Ignore the Pharisees. They are blind leading the blind. If one guides the other, they both fall into the ditch. Even for the Pharisee there is a way of salvation through confession, repentance and doing restitution. Here is the difference between the Pharisee and the murderer: a Pharisee has an image to protect, he has attained a high position in society and he is highly esteemed in spiritual matters. It is terrible for him to take the simple steps that a murderer takes. It is very difficult for him to repent and apologise for the evil he has done.
When Jesus left He sent His spirit who does exactly what Jesus did while He was on earth. Take the example of the Samaritan woman at the well. After Jesus spoke to her, she ran into the village and told the people that she had seen a man who told her everything she had ever done. Jesus has ascended but through His Spirit we can experience this. Have you heard the voice of the Man who told you everything you have ever done? Not what people have seen you do, not the things that have got you into trouble. If the Holy Spirit speaks, it is exactly the same as when Jesus walked on earth. He will tell you all the things no one knows about…you did this, you did that. Your conscience will convict you and you will see crystal clearly all that you have done. You will know exactly what you must make right. Maybe you have stolen money and you go to the people concerned and apologise. They may say that they did not know that you had stolen money and why have you come and told them. Why? Because you have heard the Voice of the Man who told you everything you ever did. Have you taken the right steps?
“Conviction of sin is one of the most uncommon things that ever happens to a person. It is the beginning of an understanding of God.” Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest. It is one of the rarest things that ever strikes a man and yet it is the threshold of understanding God. To meet the Man who tells you everything you ever did is one of the rarest things that will happen to you. You might experience it now or once or twice in your life. If you do not react, you will miss out on God’s Kingdom. Conviction of sin is the unbearable burden of all of your sin, all your filthiness before a holy and righteous God. The Greek word conviction means exposing your sin. When the Spirit of God brings this type of conviction He reveals your total bankruptcy before God.
The Holy Spirit helped us in another way when Jesus left the earth. If we had been left with His words only and not the Comforter, the devil would confuse us with the Scriptures and it would have been our downfall. Look at the example when a loose woman came into the room where Jesus ate with the Pharisees. She wet His feet with her tears and wiped His feet with her hair. Judas’s reaction was, “What a waste of money. I cannot stand this. The expensive ointment could have been sold and the money given to the poor – that I would understand, that makes sense. It is logical. It sounds morally correct. What is the use of wasting all the ointment on Jesus’ feet? You could have worshipped Him without spending all this money”.
If people had followed Judas, they would have staged a walkout and said enough is enough, because they were harbouring skeletons in their cupboards. Judas was stealing money and appealing to human logic but he was spiritually dead. He could not understand what was happening from a spiritual perspective. Now we say, Judas was actually wrong because He spoke against Christ. Here was a prostitute walking in the spirit, one to whom God had revealed everything she had ever done. The prostitute walked in the Spirit but Judas and the disciples did not catch on. They did not realise what was happening here. You could have thought like the Pharisee, 39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.” Luke 7:39 He should not allow her to touch him.
The word of God is the most dangerous and treacherous in the mouth of a Pharisee. He will make you so confused that you will not know whether you are coming or going. Judas, with his humanistic convictions and the Pharisees were on the same side. This often happens in life. In our modern society communism has infiltrated everywhere. Everything is seen through a humanistic way of thinking and the Pharisees support their opinion.
The prostitute did it because it was Jesus. If she had gone through a committee they would have said the money should be given to the poor. People did not expect her to be in the Spirit. She did what the Lord wanted her to do and it pleased the Lord. What she did was written in remembrance of her.
Let the world crucify you. Let the Pharisees crucify you. Listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit. If he has told you to pour oil on the feet of Jesus, do it even if no one else agrees.
What power has Jesus given us? All power has been given to Me. In the Hebrides, a small island off the coast of Scotland, there was a revival there about 70 years ago. Two old women prayed for revival, one was 84 years old and the other, 82. They could no longer attend church because one was blind and the other one hunched over because of a spinal disease. God had shown them a vision of their church filled with people. They went to their pastor and asked him whether things were right between him and God. Then God came down and revival broke out. There was a teenage boy who was exceptionally used by God. He was asked to open prayer meetings. His name was Donald Smith and he was a relative of these two old ladies. He was known as a young man who was ready to be used by God at any time. He was humble and later he even led services. There was a young lady on the island named Mary Ann Smith McCloud, who experienced the revival. Donald was a cousin of this young lady too. In 1936 at the age of 18 she immigrated to the USA where she married a man called Fred and they had children.
The two old ladies sent a Bible that was used in the revival, as a gift to Mary Ann. Her first child was named Fred after his father, her second child was Mary Ann, the third child was Elisabeth and the fourth child, a son, was named Donald after the young man whom God used in the revival. That child, Donald, is now the 45th president of the USA. The revival Bible is in the President’s Oval Office. This is where Donald Trump comes from and the background of his parents. He is the first American president who has appointed judges in the highest court who are against abortion. He has done many other things. He lived a very immoral life at first but then it happened to him what happened to the man on the cross, he received forgiveness of sins and God made a new man out of him.
We plan for our government. We have political ranks, but Jesus said all power is given to Me in heaven and on earth. Do not be discouraged. If you have God on your side, do not be discouraged. God is far above what we can think or pray for. Who would have thought that such a thing would happen through that revival on that island? God sent revival to this place in 1966. The same man who was the leader at that time, God has kept alive until today. He has remained in the work and been in charge since then. Some of the Zulus who were in this revival in the beginning are still with us. I do not care what people say, revival is very precious.
What are you and I going to do about this? Just a Bible that Mary Ann McCloud was sent was so precious to her that she gave it to her son. When he was campaigning in a TV debate he said that some people say that he does not read the Bible. Then he lifted that Bible. When Jesus went into heaven he said we should go boldly into all the world and he said, “I am with you until the end of days, until the end of the earth.” Let us make sure we are on God’s side. Do not defend your good character. Allow God to tell you all that you have ever done so that you can be on God’s side.