A Promise Kept by Pastor Carl W. Mann, II
Acts 2:33 (KJV) “Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.”
I had the privilege of visiting the Mount of Olives when I journeyed to the Holy Land in 2005 with my “Petra” group of fellow-ministers and friends. The day I stood on the Mount was warm and sunny with a slight breeze blowing across my face. The breeze felt like a gentle touch of the Master’s Hand that brought His calm assurance that He was with me. I was particularly moved by the awareness that I might be standing in the very spot where He stood!
While the men primarily discussed the promise of the return of Jesus to this precise spot, my mind was drawn to a different “view.” I thought about the importance this “Mount” meant to “The Man, Christ Jesus, and the myriad of emotions He must have experienced as He stood on this Mount just before He ascended. He had visited this Mount many times; for, it was a “Point of Prophecy” that was pivotal to His purpose.
I know that He visited the Mount of Olives three times during the last week leading up to Mount Calvary…
- The first visit was to deliver what has come to be known as the Olivet Discourse, recorded in Matthew 24:1—25:46.
- The second visit was what we now call “His Triumphal Entry,” as recorded in Luke 19:29-30.
Concerning the Mount of Olives, I am intrigued when I review what Scripture records, Luke 19:37-38 (KJV) “And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen; Saying, ‘Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest’” (Emphasis Mine). I wonder, did Jesus think about His “Triumphant Return” at this time?
While Jesus stood on the Mount of Olives, before His descent to enter the City of Jerusalem, His heart was full of conflicting emotions. His emotions spilled over as He approached the City. Luke 19:41 (KJV) “And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it,” (Emphasis Mine).
- The third visit was to the Garden of Gethsemane (Garden of the “Oil-Press”) on the western slope of the Mount of Olives where Jesus prayed in great agony as He contemplated his “separation” from His Father because He would be “made sin” as the Lamb of God. In this “sacrifice,” the Lamb of God would become the “Victim;” however, I wonder if He thought about the time He would return to this “Mount” as the “Victor?”
The last visit that Jesus made to the “Mount of Olives,” was just prior to His ascent into heaven. I believe “The Man, Christ Jesus” longed for this visit because He was “going home!” Jesus never found His “fit” in this world. The “Man, Christ Jesus” was rejected from the time of He was conceived in His mother’s womb. He was faithful to His Father’s purpose and plan, but He longed to return “home!”
Christmas is all about God’s “Promise” and “Gifts!”
John the Baptist prophesied concerning the arrival of Jesus…
Matthew 3:11 (KJV) “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:” (Emphasis Mine).
The “Man, Christ Jesus” could not have accomplished His Father’s Will without the empowerment of the Holy Spirit upon and within. Acts 10:38 teaches us that Jesus of Nazareth did everything He did under, and in, the influence of the Holy Spirit’s Power and Authority. Jesus depended upon this “Promise of Power” throughout His life here on earth.
Jesus promised He would send the Same “Gift” after He returned “Home” …
John 14:15-17 (KJV) “If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you” (Emphasis Mine).
Luke 24:49 (KJV) “And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.”
The Father made a “Promise” that He would send His “Gift” to the world…
Isaiah 7:14 (KJV) “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”
Jesus “recognized” that He was the “Gift” that the Father sent…
John 3:16 (KJV) “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (Emphasis Mine).
Indeed, Christmas is all about God’s “Promise” and “Gifts.” As surely as at the first “Christmas,” the Father fulfilled His “Promise” to send His “Gift” to the world, so Jesus fulfilled His “Promise” to send His “Gift” after He returned “Home.” It was the same “Gift” that John the Baptist prophesied.
Acts 2:1-4 (KJV) “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Emphasis Mine).
Christmas is a reminder that God fulfills His “Promises!” The Mount of Olives was the reminder to “The Man, Christ Jesus” that His Father will never make a “Promise” that He does not “Keep!” His Father “Promised” He would take Him “Home” from the Mount of Olives, and He would return to the Mount of Olives to rule and reign on the earth. Jesus was happy to be going “Home;” for, He knew He would be returning.
Luke 24:50-51 (KJV) “And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them. And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven.”
Every Christmas season, I’m reminded that God “Keeps His Promises!”