We should be fond of two New Testament passages that led up to the Resurrection. We find one of them in the Book of Revelation, and the other in today’s first reading.
Revelation, 5:12 pictured the saints and angels looking down on the dead Jesus in awe of what he had accomplished. They called out,
“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches, wisdom and strength, honor and glory and blessing.”
That tells us that Jesus deserved a great reward for his heroic life and death.
The other New Testament text, linking us to that one, is today’s passage from the Acts of the Apostles. St. Peter spoke of Jesus receiving that promised reward:
“Exalted at the right hand of God, he received the promise of the holy Spirit from the Father and poured it forth, as you both see and hear.”
Peter was referring to the way that Jesus on Pentecost poured out his Spirit on the disciples. It changed them from being cowards in hiding to becoming bold men who convinced the crowds.
In his lifetime Jesus had lacked the power to change men by giving them the Holy Spirit. His hands had been tied. We saw an example of that in Chapter Six of John’s Gospel when Jesus seemingly could do nothing about it when most of his disciples left him.
The two readings we are considering here today tell us how, as a reward for his heroism, Jesus received the power to infuse his followers with the Holy Spirit.