After the Resurrection ...
well, what happened?
I have taken Easter décor down in my home, except for several little bunnies here and there - sweet reminders that Spring is here! But if we take ourselves back to that Sunday morning Jesus walked out of his linen grave clothes--you know, a little over two weeks ago on our current day calendars--where would we find Jesus? What was Jesus doing 17 days after he was in and around Jerusalem ... after his crucifixion, burial and resurrection? Well, he was purposefully showing up for a time, (as we spoke of a few days ago--faithful people show up), and that time is definitely worth our examination.
And what in the world… what happened to Jesus’ guys, who first ran away, afraid of what the Roman authorities would do to them, since they had just crucified their Lord?
Open your Bibles to the book of Acts, the first book following the gospels . . . and be prepared to launch into an ocean of adventure! Not only do we find Jesus, but we explore a book that has so much to say to us today. I'm pretty excited about this--especially now.
PRAYER: O Lord, please open our hearts and minds, pique our interest in knowing you more, as we see you through the words you inspired in the book we call Acts. Speak to each of us today in some way, spark desire in our hearts for you! Amen.
ACTS 1: In my first book I told you, Theophilus, about everything Jesus began to do and teach2 until the day he was taken up to heaven after giving his chosen apostles further instructions through the Holy Spirit. 3 During the forty days after he suffered and died, he appeared to the apostles from time to time, and he proved to them in many ways that he was actually alive. And he talked to them about the Kingdom of God.
4 Once when he was eating with them, he commanded them, “Do not leave Jerusalem until the Father sends you the gift he promised, as I told you before. 5 John baptized with water, but in just a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
What entices you to read a book… the title or the author? Subject matter? Someone's recommendation? Personal growth? Because it is the sequel to a book you loved? All of these and more are reasons why you are going to love the book of Acts. Though named "The Acts of the Apostles," this book could also be called The Acts of the Holy Spirit. Written by the gospel writer, Luke, he gives us a firsthand account of what happens after the tomb was found empty.
Dr. Luke writes with the detail of the handwritten notes on a medical chart. Think of it: he was writing his account to Theophilus (which means ‘lover of God’), not knowing he was actually writing Scripture--not likely aware that it was a historical record, the order of events, the names and places, corroborated by the historians of the day.
So, what do we learn in these first few verses? Luke’s gospel records all that Jesus began to do and teach…and now, Luke will tell us more. Note: Jesus was on earth 40 days after his crucifixion and resurrection. So, that would mean for us who are 17 days past our celebration of the resurrection, if we were in real time, Jesus was alive again, meeting with his disciples in several different settings. Why, the air around Jerusalem must have been electric . . . the Lord was alive again! Jesus did what he had told them he would do! That gave everything else he taught credibility - a reason to believe and follow him.
Hmmm, I wonder if folks were out looking for him, hoping to run into him, waiting and watching what else he would teach, what else he would do. Think of it for a moment.
You know, as we embark on a study of the book of Acts, we ought see ourselves in the story too--back then for sure--I mean, can you only imagine? Jesus has defeated death, he has outdone the Romans and silenced the pious Jewish leaders! I know I would have definitely been out looking for him--the usual places I would have encountered him, the places I had heard he frequented … Oh yes, I would have been hard after him.
But guess what else? I think we ought see ourselves in the same live story today… looking for Jesus, where he will show up in our lives, where his presence will be felt and known, and always looking for the Holy Spirit’s activity in our lives leading, guiding, directing.
Let’s go, Luke… tell us what happened!
Because the Son of God is alive among us!