Monday, September 7, 2015

The Community of Jesus after the resurrection begins - Day One - The Essential Truth

Act 1:1-11 NASB - "1 The first account I composed, Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach, 2 until the day when He was taken up to heaven, after He had by the Holy Spirit given orders to the apostles whom He had chosen. 3 To these He also presented Himself alive after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God. 4 Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, "Which," He said, "you heard of from Me; 5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now." 6 So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, "Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?" 7 He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; 8 but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth." 9 And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. 10 And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them. 11 They also said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.""

Preparation Question:How has being part of the church and follower in Jesus the Messiah/Christ made a difference in your life up this point?

Reflection:   Luke tells us that this is the second volume of a two volume set.  The first volume is the gospel of Luke and the second is the book of Acts.   They should be read together since Luke assumes that we understand his Gospel before he records for us the journey of the early church.  If you have not read Luke in a while it may be good to do a speed reading and review of it so that you will be entering into this second volume fully aware of what took place in the life of Messiah Jesus before HIS resurrection.  

From Luke's perspective the resurrected Christ will continue to do and teach but now HE will do this through HIS community.  The followers of Messiah Jesus are now HIS spiritual body on the earth, a type of second incarnation, in which now HIS ministry will be multiplied and expanded to reach the whole world.  

The disciples are attempting to understand how all this fits into the divine plan.  They wonder if judgment day and Israel being given the KINGDOM on earth is not to happen.  Jesus tells them that it is not for them to know when the final judgment day will be but instead to understand right now how God intends to use them as empowered witnesses about the wonder of HIS sacrifice for the 
sins of God's people  and resurrection from the dead.  They are to take the gospel to all nations.  This is only to take place once the baptism of the Holy Spirit comes upon them.  

Messiah Jesus then goes into heaven and an angel tells them to understand that when the Lord Jesus returns the day of judgment they had been speculating about would come.  


Do you pray daily for the Holy Spirit to empower you to be able to give a witness of the risen Christ Jesus in word and deed each day?   

Do you pray that God may arrange divine appointments where you could share your faith in both word and deed?   

What keeps us from being able to be a witnesses more consistently of the good news of our Lord Jesus in word and deed in our lives?   

How could this hindrance be overcome?

List the times when the Lord Jesus has had the greatest impact on your life.  Could you tell others about these times?  Could this be a way to be a witness that is more natural?

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