I have recently finished reading specific books of the Bible which I set out to read, so I asked God what book to read and study next. I believe that He told me to read Acts. I then had coffee with my pastor, and asked him what was coming up in the next preaching-series of our church. Yes, you guessed it, Acts. Confirmation. I have decided to take a chapter at a time, read it, think about it and then write down what I have learned from that chapter. This means that all of you wonderful people who take the time to read my blog can go on this journey with me. I encourage you to read the chapter which I am focussing on, and see what you get out of it. The Word is alive and speaks to us individually, so me may not always get the same message. I may break them up with other posts, but just look out for the ‘Time to Act’ heading.
Acts chapter one. Here is the passage that I would like to focus on for today. Acts 1:6-11. Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. 8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Jesus Ascends to Heaven
9 Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. 10 And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, 11 who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.”
Firstly, the disciples are still wondering when Jesus would restore the kingdom to Israel. They still didn’t fully understand why Jesus was there and what He had done. Unfortunately, I don’t think people today have any better idea in general. We see images of what is happening in the the Gaza strip at the moment, and Christians being slaughtered for their faith. I have been asked what I think this means, does it mean that Jesus is coming back soon? Yes it does, but that is not the point. The point is what are we doing with the time that we have before He does. Jesus says the the disciples will be witnesses throughout the world once they receive the Holy Spirit. They had a job to do. We have a job to do. We no longer need to wait for the Holy Spirit, we have it (if you don’t, ask God for His spirit and He will give it to you).
Even after Jesus had gone, the disciples still kept looking into the sky. They may have been sad that He left, they may have been scared or confused. They may have even been wondering when He would come back. We as Christians can still spend so much time thinking about or debating this. I have seen comment after comment about when Jesus is coming back, what is happening in Israel at the moment and how that fits into God’s plan and people literally sitting around and waiting (or praying) for Jesus to return. Have a look at verse 11. They were asked why they were gazing into heaven. Jesus is coming back, no one knows exactly when, not even Jesus. I guarantee you that no human being knows or will ever be told. So what do we do in the meantime? Verse 8, paraphrased for us today. But you have received power when the Holy Spirit came upon you; and you are witnesses to Me all over the earth.
That is what we are called to do, the great commission says, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” Matthew 28:19-20.
What are you waiting for? When Jesus comes back it will be too late, so get started now!