After Jesus was crucified and resurrected, He ascended into Heaven; but He left His disciples one crucial instruction: do not leave Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit has come upon you.
“Now behold, two of them were travelling that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was seven miles from Jerusalem. And they talked together of all these things which had happened. So it was, while they conversed and reasoned, that Jesus Himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were restrained, so that they did not know Him. And He said to them, “What kind of conversation is this that you have with one another as you walk and are sad?” Then the one whose name was Cleopas answered and said to Him, “Are You the only stranger in Jerusalem, and have You not known the things which happened there in these days?” And He said to them, “What things?” So they said to Him, “The things concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a Prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people.” (Luke 24:13-19)
These two disciples did not follow Jesus’ command and were on their way to Emmaus, a village about 11 kilometres far from Jerusalem. They were sad because their hopes of having Israel delivered from the Roman dominion were crushed with Jesus’ death. This shows us that despite all the time they spent following Jesus and witnessing His power through signs and wonders, they never knew who He truly was. They only saw Him as a mere prophet, not as the Son of God.
Many people nowadays are just like these disciples. They have experienced God’s power, but still don’t know who Jesus really is and that is for one main reason: They do not have His Spirit!
Moments of adversity come to reveal our real spiritual state. In the case of the two disciples, the lack of the Holy Spirit in them left both with no sense of direction and feeling sad, instead of trusting in the word of God and remaining in Jerusalem. We clearly see here how crucial the baptism with the Holy Spirit is for a Christian to be strong and remain with God until the end.
Today, Jesus gives us the same direction to follow, but only those who truly know Him have the courage and strength to follow through without being frightened by the troubles of this world; and the only way of truly knowing Him is by having the Holy Spirit inside us.
“Now it came to pass, as He sat at the table with them, that He took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they knew Him; and He vanished from their sight.” (Luke 24:30-31)
The deserts of life will show our true nature. Those who only have received blessings and miracles cannot withstand the deserts when they come, as blessings and testimonies are not enough to sustain us during tough times. Only by receiving a new and divine nature through the Holy Spirit are we able to trust in God regardless of the circumstances. It is His Spirit who will give us the strength and wisdom to overcome difficulties and it’s His hand that will hold us up. Remember: adversities do not come to break you, but to show you who you really are.
Without this true encounter with God, all one can receive are crumbs. Their life remains unstable and subject to every negative emotion, such as depression, fear, insecurities, anger… but when someone receives the Spirit of God, their life is transformed from water to wine. They overcome everything that used to dominate them, and even if the whole world rises against them, they will always prevail! For no one can destroy he who is born of God.
However, for this encounter with God to take place, Jesus needs to see in you a thirst to know Him. The willingness to surrender to Him your entire life!
It is time to position yourself. How have you been reacting amidst this adversity? During these tough times, are you staying strong and connected to God or distancing yourself from Jerusalem like those two disciples?