And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem…
I. THE COMMAND WAS OF A TRYING NATURE. "Not to depart from Jerusalem." This would —
1. Recall painful sympathies — the agony and crucifixion; the rejection by the Jews.
2. Suggest personal unfaithfulness in the denial by Peter, the defection by all.
3. Bring the fear of man. The Jerusalemites had slain the Master; what might the servants expect? Why did Christ give such hard orders? Discipline was needed, and Christ's own sovereignty must be asserted and accepted.
II. A GRACIOUS PROMISE ACCOMPANIED THIS TRYING COMMAND. If the command set forth the bitter severity of law, the promise had the sweet gentleness of the gospel. Thus God gives His servants mingled portions. Duty and privilege go together. Of the promise, observe —
1. It was of ancient date (Isaiah 44:3; Joel 2:28).
2. The Lord's recent utterance of it had made its terms familiar, "Which ye have heard of Me" (Luke 24:49).
3. It was the promise of the greatest possible good. When the Messiah had done, the next best thing was the gift of the Holy Ghost.
III. THE MEANING OF THIS PROMISE COULD BE FULLY APPREHENDED ONLY BY EXPERIENCE. They had heard the terms, and some of them had seen the "form of a dove" at Christ's baptism, but neither would make the promise clear. They must wait for a new blessing. It is so still. Experience reveals what must else be for ever unexplained. Of what, then, were the disciples to have experience?
1. Of the utmost possible nearness to God. The Incarnation had brought God near; but the Spirit was to unite the believer to God, and make Him a living temple.
2. Of an abundance of blessing. They were to have that which baptism represents — purity, refreshment, health.
3. Of a deep acquaintance with Divine truth. Christ had promised that the Spirit should bring to their remembrance what He had said.
IV. THE COMMAND AND PROMISE WERE A TEST OF DISCIPLESHIP.
1. Patience was exercised by remaining at Jerusalem. There are times and places in which witnessing for Christ is easy. Such a place was not Jerusalem. Disciples prove their fidelity by abiding in the way of duty in spite of hardship.
2. Faith was tried by uncertainty of time "not many days hence."
3. But past experience encouraged confidence and perseverance. Some of Christ's promises had been already fulfilled, and in some cases beyond all expectation.Conclusion: See here —
1. The gentleness of the Lord's discipline.
2. The condition on which He fulfils His promises.
Parallel VersesKJV: And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.