Come Tarry Go

He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day,
and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at
Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but
stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high. I am going to send you what my
Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”
Luke 24:46-49 NIV
In a church that Karen and I once attended there was a very large cross-shaped window above
the pulpit. In the glass the ascending Jesus was depicted with his arms outstretched. Below his
feet were the words, one above the other: Come, Tarry, Go. In many ways these three words
summarize the Gospel.
Too often, we think of the good news simply as “Come.” To be sure, it is good news. With his
arms extended Jesus invites us to come to him and drop our sins, our frustrations, our failures,
our loneliness at his feet and let him enfold us in those arms. Thank God!
But having come, something happens to us. We have become witnesses to realities that change
everything, and we can’t just keep quiet. As Peter said to the Jewish leaders, “We cannot but
speak of what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20 ESV). We do not “go” because God demands
it, but because our experience demands it. Persons who have “come” to Christ cannot not “go” to
tell about it.
But there is that third word. What about it? If the first two words are inseparable from each other
as parts of the Gospel, what about this one? This is the essential bridge between the two. The
good news of the Gospel is that we can be infused with the very life and being of Jesus. Because
we have “come” this is a possibility, and as it becomes a reality, our “going” is in power and joy.
But the fullness of the Holy Spirit is not at our command. We must “wait” (Acts 1:4) until we
have come to the end of ourselves and know our absolute dependency on our Father before he
can give us the gift he most wishes to give, himself.

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