This Is Not the End of The Story

April 13, 2020

Acts 1:1-11 (NIV)

In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”

He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.

They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”

Devotion

Luke takes particular pains to show that what he was writing was a continued story. In writing Acts, he repeats the story of the ascension and links up what followed directly with the story which had preceded. We would do well, therefore, to think of Acts as one continuous story with Luke. Since this book is the only record, we have of the early development of Christianity, its value is easily apparent. After the resurrection and ascension of Jesus, the disciples had the facts of the gospel story which included the sinless life of Jesus, His incarnation, His teachings, His wondrous works, His atoning death, His resurrection and ascension, His promise to return, the commission to win the world for Him, and the assurance of His presence. But they were not ready to begin their work.

For this reason, Jesus commanded them to stay in Jerusalem for a while. The kingdom was not to be a worldly one but a spiritual one. In their work they would need the presence and the leadership of the Holy Spirit. They were to wait until they were filled with the Holy Spirit. Therefore, they waited patiently in an upper room. They prayed fervently and remained together in close fellowship.

Questions to Ponder

Have you taken the time to investigate the twelve post-resurrection appearances of Jesus? What did Jesus mean when He said, “You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”? How are you being a witness for Jesus where you live?

Prayer

  • Ask the LORD to give you a heart that will “wait on Him” and fervently prays! Just like they did in the books of Acts.
  • Pray for your neighbors right now, ask the Lord to draw them to Himself.
  • Pray that they would be curious about the LORD.
  • Ask the LORD to show you ways you can bless them, even in the midst of the COVID-19 and the Stay Home/Stay Safe policy. Continue to pray for – salvation, protection, encouragement, etc.
Suggested prayer:
Father in Heaven, I am so thankful to be Yours. I am so thankful that I am co-heirs with Christ. Thank You for giving me the Holy Spirit Who counsels, empower, convicts, strengthens, and leads me to share You with those around me. Forgive me LORD for the times I have been silent about You and for the times I have grieved Your Holy Spirit. Lord, give me a greater desire to share You with my neighbors. Reveal to me ways I can reach out to them with a genuine, sincere heart. I want to share the gospel and help them know Your love. Remind me to pray for them and our relationship. Bless them, protect them, lead them into Your Truth. I ask in the Name of Jesus Christ.

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