ACTS, The Actions of God
We leave the quartet of gospels to dive into the acts of God after Jesus ascended back heaven. He left his believers with a command to go and teach the world, beginning in your own home time, then to all the parts of the world. Without missing a beat, that is exactly what they did. Luke records the Acts of God as directed by God’s Spirit. Why?
Because the story of Jesus is so impressive–God among us! God speaking a language we can understand! God acting in ways that heal and help and save us!–there is a danger that we will be impressed, but only be impressed, (especially this time of year when Christmas lights and music impress us greatly, even bringing tears to our eyes.) Impressions are not lasting. We are mere spectators.
As the spectacular dimensions of this story slowly (or suddenly) dawn upon us, we could easily become enthusiastic spectators, and then let it go at that–becoming admirers of Jesus, generous with our oh’s and ah’s, and in our better moments inspired to imitate him.
It is Luke’s task to prevent that, to prevent us from becoming mere spectators to Jesus, fans of the Message. Of the original quartet of writers on Jesus, Luke alone continues to tell the story as the apostles and disciples live it into the next generation. The remarkable thing is that it continues to be essentially the same story. Luke continues his narration with hardly a break, a pause perhaps to dip his pen in the inkwell, writing in the same style, using the same vocabulary.
The story of Jesus doesn’t end with Jesus. It continues in the lives of those who believe in him. The supernatural does not stop with Jesus. Luke makes it clear that these Christians he wrote about were no more spectators of Jesus than Jesus was a spectator of God–they are IN on the action of God, God acting in them, God living in them. Which also means, of course, in us!
Jesus taught/trained/schooled his disciples about God, Who He is, How He works and is always at work. He even told them that they would do even greater acts than He would do! God’s Word became flesh to show us God in Person.
In the coming days ahead, let us dive into the book of Acts with a mind desiring to grow and think like the first generation disciples on mission, IN on the Acts of God!
ACTS 1, The Message
To the Ends of the World
1-5 Dear Theophilus, in the first volume of this book I wrote on everything that Jesus began to do and teach until the day he said good-bye to the apostles, the ones he had chosen through the Holy Spirit, and was taken up to heaven. After his death, he presented himself alive to them in many different settings over a period of forty days. In face-to-face meetings, he talked to them about things concerning the kingdom of God. As they met and ate meals together, he told them that they were on no account to leave Jerusalem but “must wait for what the Father promised: the promise you heard from me. John baptized in water; you will be baptized in the Holy Spirit. And soon.”
6 When they were together for the last time they asked, “Master, are you going to restore the kingdom to Israel now? Is this the time?”
7-8 He told them, “You don’t get to know the time. Timing is the Father’s business. What you’ll get is the Holy Spirit. And when the Holy Spirit comes on you, you will be able to be my witnesses in Jerusalem, all over Judea and Samaria, even to the ends of the world.”
AND HE’S COMING BACK!…
9-11 These were his last words. As they watched, he was taken up and disappeared in a cloud. They stood there, staring into the empty sky. Suddenly two men appeared—in white robes! They said, “You Galileans!—why do you just stand here looking up at an empty sky? This very Jesus who was taken up from among you to heaven will come as certainly—and mysteriously—as he left.”
WHY DO YOU JUST STAND HERE LOOKING UP AT AN EMPTY SKY?
Let’s get to work, watching for God, listening for His invitation to join Him in His work, then get IN on the action!
Always In Jesus Name, Amen. I believe!