Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Acts 1 - Ascension & Waiting

by Katrina

LINK: Acts 1

The book of Acts was written by Luke as a continuation of his gospel story. Both are written to a man named Theophilus with the purpose of explaining Jesus to him. Acts was probably written about AD61 during Paul's imprisonment in Rome and covers that approximate thirty year time span from the resurrection of Jesus to the end of Paul's travels.

This thirty year period of time was an important transition of the early church. Luke records the coming of the Holy Spirit about whose arrival Jesus had frequently told his disciples. He records the spread of Christianity and the shift from a primarily Jewish group of believers to a worldwide, largely Gentile Church, distinct from Judaism.

Luke mentions the practice of various doctrines (teachings) of the Church which will be fleshed out in the writings of the epistles. There are also many principles to learn from this book about missionary work and church life.

Chapter 1
Jesus gathered the apostles together and promised that the Holy Spirit would come soon, and they would become his witnesses all over the world. They saw Jesus ascend into heaven, and two angels told them that one day Jesus will return from heaven. So, they went to Jerusalem and waited. In the meantime, they appointed Matthias to take the place of Judas. Peter began his role as shepherd of this group of sheep. About 120 believers were gathered together in an upper room, waiting.

What did this group of believers do while they waited for the promised Holy Spirit and the return of Jesus? Verse 14 tells us that they were all of one mind and were continually devoting themselves to prayer. The Holy Spirit soon came (tomorrow's chapter), but almost 2000 years later we are still waiting for Jesus to return. What are we doing while we're waiting? Peter says that while we wait for the final days, we should "be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless." Peter also tells us to be on guard, alert, lest we get confused by erroneous teaching and become unstable in our faith. Rather, we are to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus (2 Peter 3:14,17-18). Let's be diligent while we wait, devoting ourselves to prayer, being obedient to the Lord, and growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Lord, we look forward to Jesus' return. Teach us to pray and grow in Him while we wait. Amen.
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