Where You Sit
May 19 2021
In my new book, Stay the Course: Challenges to Salvationists from the Book of Acts (Atlanta: The Salvation Army, 2016), I have three chapters dedicated to Acts 2. On this Pentecost Sunday I share this one with you. The book will be released June 3, 2016. You can order a copy here.
Where You Sit
After the disciples have their last conversation with Jesus, they watch their Lord miraculously ascend into Heaven, where He will “take His place” at the right hand of the Father. The angels come on the scene to ask them an interesting question: “Men of Galilee, why do you stand here looking into the sky?” (1:11) The angels inform the disciples that Jesus will return again, in the same way they have just seen Him leave.But the angels’ question also implies: Don’t stand here any longer. It’s time to move on, to receive that power Jesus promised you. Jesus’ ascension is the necessary precursor to all that will happen in the 28 chapters of Acts, as the disciples of Jesus begin to fulfill the mission statement they have been given: to spread the Word in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the Earth.But what did the disciples do first? “They all joined together constantly in prayer … ” (Acts 1:14) While they wait, they pray. They don’t wait and wander; they wait in place and pray.When Luke escorts us to the magnificent day of Pentecost, we find the disciples sitting and waiting. “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.” (2:1) In the previous chapter of this book, we learned that waiting is actually an action. Mohandas Ghandi once said, “Action expresses priorities.” The disciples’ action of waiting expresses their larger priority—obeying their Lord, Jesus. Their sitting also brings a bit of tension to this scene. They may have been saying to themselves, Why are we sitting here, God? There is a world to save, a plan to enact, and we haven’t even moved out into Jerusalem, or even outside the walls of this house.Yet they continue to sit, waiting, as Jesus had commanded. Then, as Jesus had promised, the Spirit arrives in that room in a most dramatic way.
When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. (2:1–4)
The Spirit doesn’t come because of the disciples’ abilities. The Spirit doesn’t come as they reach a level of cultural acceptance. The Spirit doesn’t come when they have the proper funding. The Spirit doesn’t come when they have finished their strategic plan. The Spirit doesn’t come because they have reached a high level of spiritual maturity. The Spirit doesn’t come after they have completed their readings, their degrees, or their lunch. The Spirit doesn’t come when they are perfect, where they might be someday or where they think they should be. The Spirit comes where they sit! Hallelujah!It is interesting that in the telling of this great event, Luke never describes the disciples as “standing up,” until they begin to excitedly tell others about Jesus. The first time Luke writes about someone standing up is when Peter stands to give the very first “sermon”: “Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd.” (2:14) The Spirit came to the disciples where they were sitting. Then they stood, filled with that Spirit, ready to change the world.The Spirit also comes to us where we are sitting. The Spirit comes if we wait in prayer, knowing that outside of our “house” is a world that needs to be changed. But like the disciples, we dare not go without the Spirit.Today, God wants to fill us where we are, where we sit, where we kneel, so that we can be His voice.Where do you sit? He wants to fill you, where you are. Maybe you are retired and wondering how God can fill and use you at this point in your life. Maybe you are about to start something new or you need to make a decision. Maybe you have been filled before and you know it, but you are “leaking.”Maybe you need to be filled again, D.L. Moody said, “A great many think because they have been filled once, they are going to be full for all time after, but O, my friends, we are leaky vessels, and have to be kept right under the fountain all the time in order to keep full.”So ask the Lord to fill you—where you sit.
 Quoted in Lawrence W. Wood, Truly Ourselves, Truly the Spirit’s (Grand Rapids: Francis Asbury Press, 1989).