The church has been in quarantine since the pandemic, but that doesn’t mean that the church has not been on the move. The Spirit’s power working through the church cannot be locked down. It is impossible for the gates of hell to overcome the Holy Spirit-filled church (Matthew 16:18).
None of us considered that we would still be in lockdown on Easter Sunday. Yet finding church doors still closed on Ascension Sunday almost seemed normal. Yes, we are tired of waiting outside the church doors for a gathering, but our waiting to gather in person has not prohibited us from gathering in spirit. Next week will be the Day of Pentecost on the church calendar, when the church experienced its first revival. Between Good Friday and the Day of Pentecost the early church was adjusting its sea-legs. The merely hundreds of people who were committed to Jesus were more determined than ever to commit to His mysterious appearances after His resurrection. They had become obedient to Him as they entered quarantine until the Holy Spirit came upon them.
Our church wasn’t out of quarantine by Pentecost, but we are inviting the Holy Spirit to come upon us and make us a stronger church than we have ever been. We are praying for revival even more now than ever because the pandemic has revealed what is most important about the church. The church is living out its utter dependence on God and revealing His glory. The church is about prayer; it is about taking care of each other; it is about reaching out to those who need food and shelter.
The church from Ascension to Pentecost is in a similar position as the church on quarantine. Matthew 28:16-20 describes Ascension Day. “Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’” This is the mandate of the church. We see that some are worshipping, and some are doubting that the church will make any difference in this world at all. Some believe the church will die off during the months we spend in quarantine.
The Religious Rulers and the Roman Government probably thought the problem with Jesus’ followers was over. They thought the church was dead. However, they were absolutely wrong. The church on quarantine is a church that increases its power as it prays and waits. What happened in Acts 2 will happen for the church that worships and prays in quarantine. The Holy Spirit will come upon the church and enable the people of the church to share the truth of God’s love for mankind and His compassionate forgiveness for our sins to the whole world.
The Day of Pentecost happened at just the time that Jerusalem was filled with God-fearing Jews from all over the world. They responded to the truth of God’s love for us through Jesus’ life, death, burial, resurrection, and ascension. The church left quarantine and multiplied from 120 people to 3,000 in one day. Those 3,000 went into all the world and spread the message of the church—the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Don’t rule out the power of the church to triumph in quarantine.