Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Jesus is Alive > Kingdom is Here > Holy Spirit will Come (Acts 1:1-8)

During the 40 days after [Jesus’] crucifixion he appeared to the apostles from time to time, actually alive, and proved to them in many ways that it was really he himself they were seeing. And on these occasions he talked to them about the Kingdom of God
(Acts 1:3, The Living Bible)

Since Jesus is the Son of God, it would be quite unbelievable that if anyone said that He remained in the grave. We can be sure that Jesus did rise from the dead because there are many witnesses who saw Him during forty days after He had risen and before He went back to heaven. Some of these men, for example, Matthew, John and Peter have written books which tells us about Jesus rising from the dead (In 1 Corinthians 15:6, “[Jesus] was seen by more than five hundred Christian brothers at one time”). The Bible is our external witness, the Holy Spirit is our internal witness that Jesus is alive!

Before Jesus went back to heaven, He commanded His disciples “not to leave Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit came upon them in fulfilment of the Father’s promise” (Acts 1:4, see also Luke 24:49). I’m thinking, maybe the disciples at this time wanted to go back home and get to work with their fishing nets again. Or maybe they wanted to start right out and tell everybody about the Lord Jesus, how He had died for our sins and rose again (I might to this). In fact, Jesus had already told them to go into all the world and preach the gospel to everyone, everywhere (Mark 16:15). But the time for this had not yet come, and so He tells them to WAIT for a while. Key word here is WAIT. The disciples surely know about the Father’s promise [theologically], but they don’t know how or in what way the Holy Spirit would come upon them [practically]. So they need to WAIT. Sometimes we want to do something for the Lord in a hurry before the right time comes, but we should do what and when He wants us to do it. So WAIT.

Then Jesus promised them the most wonderful of all gifts: “[You] shall be baptized in the Holy Spirit in just a few days” (1:5). He said that although they could not know when the Kingdom of God would fully come to earth (for the Kingdom of God is here already but not yet), yet they would receive in a few days’ time the Spirit of God to abide with them forever! Jesus said, “[When] the Holy Spirit has come upon you, you will receive power to testify about me with great effect, to the people in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth, about my death and resurrection” (1:8). The disciples obeyed the command of the Lord here. And so, if you read Book of Acts chapter 1-7, they witnessed in the city of Jerusalem; chapter 8-12, they witnessed in the land of Judea and Samaria; and after that, chapter 13-28, they preached everywhere!

I would like to recommend, after you read the Book of Acts by Luke (maybe read the Gospel of Luke first), read Foxe’s Book of Martyrs by John Foxe. This book shows that the word of Jesus in verse 8 was fulfilled and are being fulfilled day by day. I’m excited that the Book of Acts is not finish yet, for we all have great parts in fulfilling Matthew 28:18-20, Mark 16:15-18 and Acts 1:8 in this world. Remember: Jesus is alive, we are His witnesses; the Kingdom of God is here, we preach the Good News; the Holy Spirit is with and in us, now go!

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