Fear and unbelief cripple and hold one’s mind in captivity, and can only be overcome and set free when we receive the power from above, the baptism with the Holy Spirit, that only Jesus can give. (Matthew 3:11). The Holy Spirit anointing breaks the yoke and bondage of the spiritual oppression. (Isaiah 10:27)
Luke 24 records the resurrected Jesus revealing himself as a physical as well as spiritual reality to His disciples. His crucifixion, death on the cross and burial deeply affected His followers, including His closest disciples (and apostles). He knew all about this. Note the words He uses to describe their feelings and responses at this time:
- unbelief: because they find it hard to believe in God’s words, including all the prophecies about Jesus.
- fear and doubt: because they did not believe in resurrection just as God has promised.
We read some verses quoted from Luke 24 to see the reactions of the disciples of Jesus:
Luke 24:25 Then Jesus said to them, “You foolish people! You find it so hard to believe all that the prophets wrote in the Scriptures. 26 Wasn’t it clearly predicted that the Messiah would have to suffer all these things before entering his glory?”
35 Then the two from Emmaus told their story of how Jesus had appeared to them as they were walking along the road, and how they had recognized him as he was breaking the bread. 36 And just as they were telling about it, Jesus himself was suddenly standing there among them. “Peace be with you,” he said. 37 But the whole group was startled and frightened, thinking they were seeing a ghost!
38 “Why are you frightened?” he asked. “Why are your hearts filled with doubt? 39 Look at my hands. Look at my feet. You can see that it’s really me. Touch me and make sure that I am not a ghost, because ghosts don’t have bodies, as you see that I do.” 40 As he spoke, he showed them his hands and his feet.
41 Still they stood there in disbelief, filled with joy and wonder. Then he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” 42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43 and he ate it as they watched.
What is the solution given by Jesus to bring them out of this defeated mental and emotional state? Note what Jesus says, He repeated the words about Him, the message of the Good News, they are to be His witnesses to the world. Lastly He told them one essential key to overcome their fear and unbelief: He will give them the Holy Spirit, the power from above! (In church history, this has come true. The disciples of Jesus were filled with supernatural power, preaching the Good News, bringing healing and salvation to many, accompanied with signs and wonders.)
44 Then he said, “When I was with you before, I told you that everything written about me in the law of Moses and the prophets and in the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. 46 And he said, “Yes, it was written long ago that the Messiah would suffer and die and rise from the dead on the third day. 47 It was also written that this message would be proclaimed in the authority of his name to all the nations,[f] beginning in Jerusalem: ‘There is forgiveness of sins for all who repent.’ 48 You are witnesses of all these things.
49 “And now I will send the Holy Spirit, just as my Father promised. But stay here in the city until the Holy Spirit comes and fills you with power from heaven.”