You might recall me saying that as we commence Daily Notes on the Book of Acts, having set a platform in Luke chapters 1 and 24, we must not see duplication but continuity. Luke wrote both manuscripts under inspiration to Theophilus, a high ranking official in the Roman Court … but because all Scripture is God breathed and useful for teaching, Acts is for you and me as well. Luke starts Acts where Luke ended with some repeat information put differently.
1) He refers to the Gospel.
Ac 1:1 In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach 2 until the day he was taken up to heaven.
Luke wants Theophilus to remember what he wrote in his Gospel that spreads from the Incarnation, but especially the ministry and work of the Savior (that is, His person, miracles, ministry and teaching) up to the moment He returned to glory. As with Luke so with Acts he would have exercised the same meticulous methodology … but this time he references himself from chapter 16 verse 10 where he starts using “we” instead of “they”. When he wrote Luke he relied totally on eyewitness interviews and reports. Just past half in Acts he himself is an eyewitness.
2) He mentions Jesus’ instructions to the disciples giving through the Holy Spirit. After giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. This does not suggest that Jesus was absent and that the Spirit “spoke or impressed” His instructions upon the disciples. Isaiah speaks like this of the Lord Jesus
Isa 61:1 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me.
Jesus Himself uses these words of Himself:
Lk 4:18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me!”
He was indwelt with the Holy Spirit and as He spoke, taught or gave instructions, He did so through the Holy Spirit who empowered Him in His earthly body. It is always so encouraging to find the Persons of the Godhead operating together.
3) He includes the Ascension …
Isa 61:2 … taken up to heaven.
Where this phrase is perfectly okay, meaning that Jesus was helped or assisted in His human body to defy the Law of Gravity … the phrase is better rendered as “received into heaven”. To be received would be a ready, excited welcomed return to the Power Seat of Glory. Mission accomplished. Well done my beloved Son. Thank You for going on this mission to redeem all souls chosen before the creation of the world to regain the image and likeness the first Adam lost and the second Adam (Jesus) enjoys. One cannot neglect mentioning the rejoicing in that glorious place:
Rev 5:8 the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. 9 And they sang a new song: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.10 You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.” 11 Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. 12 In a loud voice they sang: “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!” 13 Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing: “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!” 14 The four living creatures said, “Amen,” and the elders fell down and worshiped.
The happiness, exhilarating joy, delight and exultation to have the Son of God, who is King of kings and Lord of lords back. His salvific work which was the worst experience He could face as God, but the only way to bring back home the souls destined for heaven, was now completed successfully. O the bliss of that moment that is eternally remembered and appreciated.
4) He then goes to Jesus’ post resurrection appearances and teachings.
Ac 1:3 After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.
(1) Jesus showed Himself to the eleven and was seen by them. Here the point is that He visited them and they saw Him to be the one who was crucified, dead and buried … and now risen from the dead.
(2) Jesus provided convincing proofs that He was alive. This is where authentication comes in. It was one matter to show Himself, it was another to prove it was Him, demonstrating infallibly it was Him, leaving no room for any doubters.
(3) Jesus’ authenticated Himself for forty days. He appeared to them and taught them. Notice the focus of His teaching … The Kingdom of God. As we will see soon, they still misunderstood Jesus’ Kingship and the Kingdom of God. To them, Israel was the Kingdom. Even today people have this idea that Jerusalem is important to Christianity. They feel you need to visit the “Holy Land”, see the Sea of Galilee and walk the Dolorosa. This is at times translated as “The Way of Suffering” or “The Sorrowful Way.” It is a processional route in Old Jerusalem representing the path Jesus was supposed to have walk, with His Cross, as He was forced by Roman Soldiers on His way to His death … see the empty tomb, etc. Much of these are based upon a business enterprise and some or most of what tour guides show people are not the “real thing”. Some believe Jesus will return to Jerusalem and set up His reign there. They are as confused as the Apostles were. We will return to this soon. Not understanding “Kingdom” will result in a poor understanding of Eschatology … (The last days) and the shape of Eternity.
(a) How willing are you to follow Jesus’ instructions? Today all these are contained in His Word known as the Bible. Do you use the Bible? Do you allow the Bible to speak to your heart?
(b) How ready are you to offer joyful worship to the Reigning King? So often Christians, led by their spiritual leaders could be unimpressed, without feelings of excitement about Jesus’ return to Glory. This means they do not appreciate His “mission accomplished”. Are you impressed and thrilled?
(c) Are you able to receive this Jesus as the authentic Savior? The only Jesus in True Christianity is the Jesus of the Bible. Is this your Jesus?
Lord Jesus, thank You for accomplishing what none other could. Many tried and failed. I worship You. Amen.