Read: Acts 1:1-8
It’s hard to believe this blog through Luke began way back at the beginning of the year, 87 posts over the course of nearly five months. The pace might seem slow, but the journey is truly worth it in my very humble opinion. During this season I’ve gotten to know Luke as a person through his orderly account of the ministry of the One he loved more than any other: Jesus.
Luke was more than just a gospel writer, he served to build a foundation for us to follow by being obedient in capturing thoughts, stories, events, and significant moments for us to read and learn about the Savior.
If he were here sitting with you and me today, he would be pleased to hear those words, but I’m absolutely convinced he would be shocked if all we did was read and study. The purpose of this “orderly account” was not for us to become scholarly, it is to help us go out and spread the gospel.
We need to jump to the book of Acts to continue Luke’s story. This doesn’t mean I’m not going to blog through John, but I would like to continue the conversation with Luke as he gives us great insight into the early church. At my current snail’s pace, this probably means we won’t get to John until next year, but I’m really not in a hurry.
At the end of Luke 24, we are left hanging a bit. The chapter has three main sections: the women find the tomb empty, the walk to Emmaus, then the appearance of Jesus to the disciples (and His ascension). Between verses 49 and 50 there appears to be no span of time, but Luke updates us as he begins writing Theophilus in the book of Acts:
He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. Acts 1:3
This is amazing to consider and quite hard to appreciate at the same time. After Jesus was betrayed, denied, and crucified, He sat down with these mere mortals and provided an intense workshop. My mind is filled with wild imagery of the scenes. How could James, John, Peter, and the others, ever go to sleep? Every moment must have been better than the next. Jesus, the one they saw physically destroyed was there with them!
To say they “returned to Jerusalem with great joy” Luke 24:52, is a great understatement! Can you imagine that Jesus was constantly with them over this interlude? Here’s how Luke casually puts it:
On one occasion, while he was eating with them Acts 1:4
“You know, the other time when the resurrected Son of God, Jesus Christ Himself, came over to have a bite to eat…” Seriously!?!?
By the time Jesus was done demonstrating His great love for the disciples, teaching and explaining how the kingdom works, then ascending to heaven, I’m pretty sure I would return to Jerusalem with some serious joy! Especially since Jesus told them something even more amazing was going to happen.
For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” Acts 1:5
They are all quite anxious for Jesus to restore the Kingdom in their lifetime. I think this is because they saw how wonderful things could be with Jesus leading the way, but Jesus’ plan is different, it’s difficult, and requires action:
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. Acts 1:8
This is the call that comes with a promise: the Holy Spirit will be with us.
Unlike earthly things, the power of the Holy Spirit is not diminished when given to an individual, rather, it seems to increase as more and more people recognize who Jesus is and what He has done for all.
Lord, help us appreciate this power that lives inside us, the prompting that wakes us up at night and motivates us to do that which doesn’t seem to make sense on human terms. Teach us. Mold us. Make us into the beautiful works of art you intended for Your glory and for Your kingdom.
May we become Your witnesses locally, regionally, and globally. Amen!