Jesus had spent three to three and a half years with His disciples. They had traveled together, experienced every miracle together, and seen multitudes touched. If anyone should have been ready to launch out into the ministry it would have been the disciples.
Jesus was preparing to return to the Father. He would be leaving the disciples and it was time for them to stand on their own. They had been personally trained by the Son of God but were still not ready. Jesus told them to tarry and wait for the “promise of the Father” (Acts 1:4).
Jesus had come as a man and He ministered in the anointing of the Holy Spirit (Acts 10:38). He understood the importance of the anointing and did not want the disciples to launch out before the Holy Spirit anointed them.
We often get a small glimpse of the plan of God and step out before we are ready when we should be “waiting” for the Holy Spirit. There will always be a time of preparation but in our society of “instant gratification” the notion of having to sit back and wait is totally foreign.
There is a harvest of souls that is ready for the Church to bring in. Jesus told us in Luke 10:2 that the issue is not with the harvest but with the harvesters. We have a lot of people running around ‘testifying’ but how many are doing this because they were told it was the right thing to do? My wife and I recently were taking a walk and stopped by a friend. She went on about the number of people she was giving tracts to and the details she shared were amazing. There was an exact formula being followed with each person! Not once did she mention approaching someone because of being prompted by the Spirit. Her church has told her that every Christian should hand out tracts and so this has become a work. Our friend is representative of so many Christians today. We rush new Christians through the time of preparation and then send them out to the harvest without first allowing them time to ‘wait’ for the Holy Spirit.
Many of the people who followed Jesus did so because of the miracles that saw in His ministry. Their believing was based on what they were seeing and experiencing. I cannot help but wonder what our reaction to a ministry like this today. The average preacher would probably start advertising that revival had come and try to mobilize the crowds for ministry. Tracts would be passed out in mass and then people sent out to win the masses.
Jesus saw the masses following His ministry but He did not follow the route we take today. He ‘knew’ the people’s hearts. They were not ready to be sent out. We have no reason that a single person in that crowd was sent out to ‘witness’. I believe that Jesus was more concerned with the quality of ministry than He was about the quantity of people being sent out.
It is possible to mobilize hundreds of people from local churches to go out and hand out tracks but it a struggle to find one person who walks in the anointing. Church history is contains accounts of men and women like Charles Finney, Smith Wigglesworth, and Kathryn Kuhlman. They walked in the power of God but were the exception rather than the rule.
John said that Jesus did not ‘commit’ Himself to the people. He knew that they were not ready. There is a price to pay for the anointing. It is not enough to just chase after the anointing by attending meeting after meeting. There must be a time of preparation where we are hidden alone with the Holy Spirit allowing Him to prepare us. The disciples spent three to three and a half years with Jesus but were not ready and when He ascended to the Father, He told them to wait.
I believe that the harvest is not being brought in because we have a shortage of people who have or are willing to pay the price for the anointing. If we do not give ourselves to prayer and meditation in the Word then our ministry will be build on our abilities and not on the Word of God.
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