September 23, 2022
Jesus told His disciples: prepare yourselves, the Helper will come soon. God is always at work in accomplishing His will. The disciples were not clear what Jesus was telling them before He left. God desires that we anticipate in belief. God's timing is always perfect.
"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."
1 In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, 2 until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. 3 He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.
4 And while staying 1 1:4 Or eating with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; 5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with 2 1:5 Or in the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
6 So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” 9 And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10 And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, 11 and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”
12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day's journey away. 13 And when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas the son of James. 14 All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers. 3 1:14 Or brothers and sisters. In New Testament usage, depending on the context, the plural Greek word adelphoi (translated brothers) may refer either to brothers or to brothers and sisters; also verse 15
15 In those days Peter stood up among the brothers (the company of persons was in all about 120) and said, 16 “Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus. 17 For he was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry.” 18 (Now this man acquired a field with the reward of his wickedness, and falling headlong 4 1:18 Or swelling up he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out. 19 And it became known to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the field was called in their own language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.) 20 “For it is written in the Book of Psalms,
‘May his camp become desolate,
and let there be no one to dwell in it’;
‘Let another take his office.’
21 So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22 beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us—one of these men must become with us a witness to his resurrection.” 23 And they put forward two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also called Justus, and Matthias. 24 And they prayed and said, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen 25 to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.” 26 And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.
There are three important points Luke addresses in Acts 1. These points, at first, seem to not connect. First, Jesus speaks to the coming of the Holy Spirit after He goes to heaven. He assures His disciples that they will have help on their mission. Second, Jesus speaks to the challenge before them to trust God's authority over both when and how things will come to pass. Even as the "two men . . . in white robes" stood beside the disciples watching Jesus ascend into heaven, God assisted the disciples in understanding that this was how Jesus will return from heaven (Acts 1:9-11). Third, the disciples were charged to replace Judas (Acts 1:22). Peter reminded everyone that Judas' betrayal was foretold (Acts 1:16). The kingdom of God will advance.
There is no list I could make at this point in my life to demonstrate how often I must be reminded of this divine instruction. There is no way I can imagine how Christ's disciples felt after His ascension so soon after His amazing triumph over death. I stand on this side of that ascension with the Word, waiting in anticipation for His return. Jesus spoke of worshiping Him in Spirit, but those in Acts 1 did not yet understand how the Spirit could guide and direct. I am amazed how all of this works out daily around me.
Christ has repeatedly loved when I felt abandoned and unloved. He has redeemed every tear shed. He has poured out His mercy and grace over my sinful choices. He has brought beauty from ashes. God redeems the past and continues to redeem in my heart and those I love.
I continue to battle my own desires to hold on to the good God has filled my years with in family, divine appointments, and ministry opportunities. I know He calls me to look toward heaven for His Son's return. I ask myself, Is my anticipation filled with a sense of urgency for His will in my daily mission? God will complete all that He began both then and now (Philippians 1:6).
1. Do you know what it means to be a Christ-follower? Does trusting God's provision of Christ's sacrifice on the cross speak to a yearning in your heart for a truth that is real? Do you want to know what it means to live in spirit and truth? Consider reading the book of John, an excellent presentation of the gospel. Also reach out to a Christ-follower. Ask God to guide and direct—He will. (John 16:13)
2. It was important for there to be a replacement for Judas. Do you understand why? The Church is many with one purpose—to tell the Good News. Will you join that mission throughout generations? (Matthew 28:19-20)
3. Do you know in your heart of hearts that God will accomplish His will even if you ignore or reject it? Would you prefer to walk in the truth and spirit He desires for each of us? (Isaiah 46:8-11)