39 This promise is to you, to your children, and to those far away—all who have been called by the Lord our God.
— Acts 2:39 NLT
The disciples had been through basic training and spent three years with Jesus. They had peen patient, prayerful and persecuted and they had persevered through it all. True, they had their moments of doubts and disappointments and had at one point run away and left Jesus all alone to face his killers. But when the time was right, Jesus had brought them all back together and given them their final instructions before His departure. The first instruction was to “wait in Jerusalem”. The basic training was over and they were about to go on their first missions without Him as their leader. Up to now, the provisions and power had come through Jesus but He was no longer physically with them. Now, the time had come for them to tap into the source of power through another person, the Holy Spirit. A person just as much as Jesus, in fact, the same person but not in human form. Jesus was God in visible human form. The Holy Spirit is the new heart-sized version, just as powerful and able to be everywhere at once.
The disciples now had the power and God would give them the provisions. The fight was on, the Commander had given the order– “Charge!” and the power started a great movement that is still alive today. We are the “far away” mentioned in this verse. It is up to us to be the hands and feet as the Holy Spirit carries on the battle.
Jesus showed us example after example of His humbleness. From the time He laid aside His glory in heaven to come to earth clothed in the flesh of a lowly human. Jesus was the perfect example of supreme power under control. He could have lashed out at any time and wiped out village after village. But He chose to be a servant to the people. Serving them by teaching and healing every disease. Now, Jesus was preparing to perform an act that in that time and place was performed only by servants. To wash another person’s feet showed complete meekness and humbleness. The disciples knew that and that is why Peter said “No, you will never wash my feet”. Peter could not imagine Jesus, His Lord and Master, stooping so low as to do that. But when Jesus explained to Peter that He could not be one of His disciples if Peter didn’t allow Him to wash his feet, Peter said “”Lord, then wash not only my feet, but wash my hands and my head, too!” Peter would later understand that Jesus was doing this as an example of how humble we, as Christians, must be. Maybe we all need to participate in a good old fashioned foot washing ceremony. Would we be willing to do that for our brothers and sisters?
The purpose of every human is to glorify God. On an earlier occasion, Martha had complained about Mary setting at the feet of Jesus while she cooked and served the people. Now, Judas is complaining about Mary “wasting” the expensive perfume to anoint the feet of Jesus. God has gifted each of us with different talents to achieve His glory. Martha was a worker and a helper. She knew how to get things done. Mary had the gifts of giving and encouraging. Some of us are vessels of gold and silver while others are vessels of wood and earth. Sometimes we try to do things outside of our gifting and calling. Those are the times that cause problems in the body of Christ. If you haven’t already, ask God to show you the gift He has given you to glorify Him. The body of Christ needs each of us to fulfill our calling, God needs each of us to exercise our gift so that the body will be complete. Once you discover “what is right” for you, you will find the joy and peace that God wants to give each of His children every day.
We cannot even begin to imagine the roller coaster of thoughts and emotions that Mary went through as she stood and watched her Son being ridiculed and mocked. He was physically and verbally abused beyond belief. If Mary knew the book of Isaiah then she knew that this death and this type of death was inevitable for her Son. Knowing something, in the human sense, does not necessarily prepare us to see it in actuality. I believe that at this very moment, Mary’s knowledge turned to reality and she now understood Simeon’s prophecy. “And a sword will pierce your very soul”. From sometime Thursday night until 3 PM on Friday, Jesus suffered more than we will suffer in a lifetime. And just as surely as those Centurions drove the actual nails into His hands and feet, our sins drive nails straight into His heart.