Prerequisite For Pentecost
John 16:5-7 MKJV But now I go to Him who sent Me, and none of you asks Me, Where do You go? (6) But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. (7) But I tell you the truth, it is expedient for you that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Comforter will not come to you. But if I depart, I will send Him to you.
"But now I go to Him who sent Me" - Jesus is about to die, be raised from the dead, and then ascend into Heaven to take His place at the right hand of God. Peter describes this process of exaltation and sending in his sermon during Pentecost:
Acts 2:32-36 MKJV God raised up this Jesus, of which we all are witnesses. (33) Therefore being exalted to the right of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured out this which you now see and hear. (34) For David has not ascended into the heavens, but he says himself, "The LORD said to my Lord, Sit at My right hand (35) until I place Your enemies as a footstool to Your feet." (36) Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God made this same Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.
Thus "now I go to Him who sent me" was a process - which stretched from Easter to Pentecost, and would take fifty days from the cross to the arrival of the Comforter. For the Holy Spirit to be poured out three main things had to happen:
Firstly a sacrifice has to be made for sin and the “sin problem” dealt with, so that we can be declared holy before God and the Spirit of Holiness can come to dwell in us.
Secondly, that sacrifice had to be accepted and Jesus declared the Son of God by the resurrection and
Thirdly the spiritual world has to be "taken captive" during the ascension to the right hand of God. (Ephesians chapter 4, Colossians chapter 2)
Thus with Satan disarmed, the believers cleansed and the opposing spirit-world and heavenly realms "taken captive" the Holy Spirit and His gifts could be poured out.
This is clearly stated in Ephesians 4:7-12: But to every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. (8) Therefore He says, "When He ascended up on high, He led captivity captive and gave gifts to men." (9) (Now that He ascended, what is it but that He also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? (10) He who descended is the same also as He who ascended up far above all heavens, that He might fill all things.) (11) And truly He gave some to be apostles, and some to be prophets, and some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, (12) for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.
Jesus continues: "For if I do not go away, the Comforter will not come to you." Unless Jesus had died on the cross, then been resurrected and ascended into Heaven - then the Comforter would not have come. The sacrifice of Christ was an absolute prerequisite for Pentecost. God would not send His Holy Spirit into unclean hearts or into a world still entirely under Satan's dominion. God follows certain principles in how He sends His Spirit. Grace still has its laws.
This speaks volumes to those of us who seek revival. First the cross - then Pentecost. First must come repentance and cleansing with the Word and humility and the seeking of grace through faith and desiring the washing of the blood of Christ. God dwells with the penitent and lowly of heart, not with the proud, the casual, or those who are flippant about grace!
Jesus is still at the right hand of the Father and He is still saying “I will send Him (the Comforter) to you”. He still sends His Spirit to His Church and to those who believe and the Holy Spirit, who is eternal and unchanging, has not lost His power! Therefore we must seek the outpouring of the Spirit and His power for ministry - particularly to make us witnesses throughout the world.
And like the disciples we have to lose the “earthly Jesus” (Jesus as merely a historical figure) to gain the Spirit. The nice, kind Jesus of Sunday School has to go to the cross and be replaced in our awareness with the resurrected Christ - “who was dead and who is alive forevermore.” (Revelation 1:18) That is why Paul writes:
2 Corinthians 5:16 For this reason, from this time forward we have knowledge of no man after the flesh: even if we have had knowledge of Christ after the flesh, we have no longer any such knowledge.
We have to know Christ “in the Spirit” as the One who sits at the right hand of the Father, as the Lamb of God, as the resurrected and ascended Lord Jesus. This must be our central reality. It must subsume the historical Christ with the beard and sandals. Just as Jesus subsumed His earthly identity in His resurrection body. The Christ of Colossians is a “cosmic co-Creator” and that is how we must think of Jesus now. It is almost impossible to think of a man with beard and sandals dwelling within us personally. The interior Christ is the resurrected Christ and if we are to know Christ in us, and His resurrection power, we must know Him as He now is, not as He once was.
When Paul prays for the Ephesians it is not for the knowledge of a historical figure he prays but for knowledge of a living spiritual reality of great power and authority:
Ephesians 1:17-21 MKJV that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, (18) the eyes of your understanding being enlightened, that you may know what is the hope of His calling, and what is the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, (19) and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us, the ones believing according to the working of His mighty strength (20) which He worked in Christ in raising Him from the dead, and He seated Him at His right hand in the heavenlies, (21) far above all principality and authority and power and dominion, and every name being named, not only in this world, but also in the coming age.
To sum up - revival comes to penitent, cross-embracing believers, who grasp the power and majesty of the ascended Lord Jesus and His desire to send the Holy Spirit upon us in power.
Blessings in Jesus,