Acts 18:23-28; Ps 47:2,3,8-10; Jn 16:23b-28
The gathering has begun in the in-between time. “The princes of the peoples are gathered together with the people of the God of Abraham.” The Lord God is the awesome, great king over all the earth. The great ones of the nations are coming to the God of Abraham; they come to join with God’s People. This universal reign over the nations was conceived in the Father’s heart. It is why he sends the Son and the Holy Spirit. Within God’s People and among the nations, anyone who shares the Father’s vision is a guardian of the earth. The Jewish leader with a Gentile education, Apollos, grows to share with Saint Paul God’s vision of the future of the human race. The Lord Jesus reveals in today’s gospel what it will be like in-between; he reveals how our joy will be full and all the people will clap hands and shout cries of gladness for the LORD, the Most High, the awesome, is the great king over all the earth.
Apollos comes from a Jewish background, yet his was born and raised in Alexandria. His Scriptural education and his spiritual eloquence made him a great support for the missionary work of Saint Paul. Although he spoke and taught accurately about the Lord Jesus, he only knew the baptism of Saint John. This theological limitation could have made him a dangerous though fervent speaker. Fortunately, two of Saint Paul’s greatest followers, Aquila and Priscilla, were in his audience. They took Apollos home with them and explained to him God’s new way in greater detail. Few public speakers are humble enough to be corrected in public, but once taken aside they are much more open to suggestion and change. The baptism of Saint John was to enable repentance in Israel so that the Messiah might come. Baptism in the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit gave birth to a whole New Israel that believed the Messiah had come and was not limited to a Jewish ethnicity. Apollos was able to accept the teaching of Saint Paul so he became a great strength for the infant church and a great challenge to those who did not believe that Jesus is the Messiah.
During the in-between times, the Messiah Jesus, commands his disciples to ask and receive that your joy may be full. Before the Lord Jesus was lifted up on the cross and in the glory, the disciples did not quite understand that the Father loved them. After gazing upon the One who was lifted up in loving obedience, they came to know that The Father already loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. Life in-between the time the Lord Jesus is lifted up and the time we are lifted up is a life filled with asking the Father for what we need in the Name of the Lord Jesus. Our intimacy with the Father and his closeness with us is in the Name of the Lord Jesus. In the power and presence of the absent One, we have all we need—our joy is full. Only if we trust the Father as did his Son, only if we wait in patience for the Holy Spirit, only then will we be one with the Father. Such unity is the expectation of all that come to offer the only perfect sacrifice through, in and with the Great High Priest. In the midst of our faith community do we find the Father’s vision of future unity for all the peoples of all the earth. To share this vision is to live in the full measure of joy.