This is not the father. The father has longed for a close relationship with us since before the beginning of creation. He sent his son to die for us to restore our relationship with him. We know the price that Christ paid for our salvation but the father also paid a price. He had to see his son die. He had to turn his back on his son in his hour of need. It must have been unbearable even for Almighty God.
And yet in that hour of anguish the father did not rest. He had work to do, work so pressing that it could not wait even for a moment. However great his grief and pain, the father had a desire more powerful that his grief. Only one thing was so important to the father that it outweighed his suffering and that was his desire for his people.
For centuries the home of God on earth included a veil to separate God from man. It was necessary for man’s protection but the father hated that veil with a passion. He wanted to know his people. He wanted to be one with us as he was one with his son. Every moment that he looked at the veil was painful. It screamed out that man was separated from God. Now with the death of Christ that separation, that barrier was no longer necessary.
In the very moment of Christ’s death the father reached out for that veil, grasped it in both hands and ripped it apart. Never again would anything come between the Lord and his people. He wanted a relationship with us. He wanted to know us more intimately than any spouse or parent. He wanted to know us as he knew his son and Calvary made that possible. Our salvation is the beginning of a living relationship with the Father and it is the Father himself who longed for that relationship.
The Gift of God
None of this was obvious to the Lord’s disciples as their messiah was taken down and buried. Even the resurrection did not reveal this to them. When the Lord ascended into heaven they were left excited and confused. None of them knew what was coming. They had very simple instructions and they followed them. The Lord told them to wait. The vast crowds who followed Christ were gone. Now just 120 men and women remained. All they had were hope and patience. So they waited.
Until one morning the Lord was ready. In the invisible realm the hosts of heaven assembled. Not an angel was missing. This was a moment that had been foretold from the dawn of creation and now they would see God’s plan fulfilled. In that moment all of heaven was filled with anticipation. Today was a great and wonderful day of the Lord.
Heaven hushed and the father spoke. In that moment the gates of heaven opened. A torrent poured through the open gates and fell upon 120 men and women in an upper room. The Spirit of God filled them and transformed them. A new creation was born in that moment. The purpose of the cross and of creation itself was fulfilled.
Overflowing with a life they did not understand and swept along by the Spirit of God the believers spilled onto the streets of Jerusalem. Men and women alike spoke with power and in languages they did not know. A stunned crowd stared in amazement grasping for understanding. Men from across the world heard the words of life in their own tongue.
That day the Lord was unstoppable. The church was born and more than 3000 men and women met their saviour and were baptised. Peter, a cowardly fisherman who hid his identity from a servant girl for fear of his life just a few weeks earlier stood and boldly addressed a crowd of thousands. What was different? Was Peter simply having a good day?
Of course not! The difference was huge. Peter was no longer standing in his own strength. He had been given a new life. Christ was in him and he was in Christ. The Spirit of God was living and breathing inside of his people. For the first time since the very beginning God and his people were one. The fellowship which was only available to God himself was now given to fallen men, fallen no longer but raised and made holy by the blood of Christ.