Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
On the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2), there was a marvelous outpouring of God's Holy Spirit. It was likened to the "early rain" that waters freshly planted crops. Ever since, followers of Jesus have longed to see a similar outpouring, which Scripture says will be the "latter rain"--the Holy Spirit that "ripens the grain" to be ready for the harvest. (Which is of course the second coming of Christ.)
The "latter rain" has been expected for well over 150 years. For decades, millions around the world have been praying daily that the blessing may come. Can we who want it learn something from the history of the "early rain"?
(1) After more than three years of teaching, the disciples were finally "all with one accord in one place" (Acts 2:1).
(2) Their individual desires for promotion were finally laid aside.
(3) Self was finally crucified with Christ so that sinful pride was humbled in the dust.
(4) Not one was seeking the highest place in the early church; each was ready to wash the feet of others.
(5) They were not praying for power so they could be vindicated before the unbelieving scribes and Pharisees, or to be self-exalted triumphantly; they were praying for something new--the gift of love (agape).
(6) In fact, they had just begun to understand what love (agape) is! They had finally received a sobering lesson--they had seen agape in the self-emptying sacrifice of Christ.
(7) Like a burst of lightning on a dark night or the sun shining in full strength at midnight, they had come face to face with the reality of what it cost their Savior to save them. The Lamb of God had died the world's "wages of sin." He had "poured out His soul unto death" (Isa. 53:12), which the apostles clearly understood was the world's second death. Christ had suffered the horrors of hell in order to save us. And death and hell could not hold the Divine One who had made this supreme sacrifice of agape. Now self had to be crucified together with Christ!
Is there a lesson here for us?
--Robert J. Wieland
From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: July 11, 2000.
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