Divine Empowerment of Leaders

Divine Empowerment of Leaders, Study of Luke(Page 4)

By Allen Quist 

The Disciples’ Misunderstanding of the Coming of the Spirit

Throughout the three years preceding Pentecost, Christ’s followers formed many ideas of God’s plans for his chosen Messiah, not the least of which was the promise the apostles would rule with Him. Luke seems intent on helping his readers understand how Christ’s followers expected Him eventually to defeat the Romans and return the land to Israel. To make this point, Luke records the promise: “Jesus said, ‘You are those who have stood by me in my trials; and I confer on you, just as my Father has conferred on me, a kingdom, so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel’” (Luke 22:28:30). Seemingly, with the intent to continue to underscore the previous argument, Luke chose to describe a conversation on the road to Emmaus after Christ had risen. In this conversation, Cleopas and a friend met a man on the road, not knowing the man was the Christ. He asked them what they were talking about so sadly. They told him about Jesus and how he was going to redeem Israel (Witherington 110; Luke 24:21). Cleopas had seemingly learned from the apostles what he thought Christ had taught them about the coming kingdom of God.

When Jesus talked about the Kingdom of God, the disciples would have remembered the prophecies of Joel: first, the outpouring of the Spirit would come, followed by the great Day of the Lord, then finally the Kingdom of God (Joel 2:28-31; 3:17-18). David Needham of Multnomah University has given us a picture of what the disciples were thinking about Joel’s prophecy (see Fig. 1). Joel 1: 1 to 2:27 was Joel’s day of the LORD (the locust invasion). Joel did not include Christ’s first coming as a distinct part of his prophecy. Joel 2:28-32 was outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Joel 3:1-16 was Joel’s prophecy of the Great Day of the LORD (summarized in Joel 2:30-32) and Joel 3:17-21 was the Kingdom.

Joel's Day

“Joel’s Eschatology.” Needham, David. Class Notes Bible 502 Old Testament Survey. Multnomah Biblical Seminary, (Portland, OR: Multnomah, 1999)

These men thought they had a clear picture of what the Day of the LORD would be. God would pour out his Spirit after which Jesus would defeat the Romans and return the land to Israel with the disciples ruling over the twelve tribes. With the seeming intent to move the reader’s attention to the Spirit, Luke chose to use words of Jesus. Jesus said, “This…is what you have heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be Next Pagebaptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now” (Acts 1:4b-5). Through all the previous narration Luke prepared the reader to understand why, at this point, the disciples asked him, “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6).

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