“So when they had come together, they asked Him, ‘Lord, will you at this time restore the Kingdom to Israel?’ He said to them, ‘It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by His own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.'” – Acts 1:6-8
The Book of Acts is the birth of the Church! It is record of the people of God…the Body of Christ taking up the commission that we were given by Jesus. The Gospels end with the charge to the disciples to go and to pass on the story fulfilling the assignment that was given to them by Jesus when He said,
As the story begins the disciples are pumped up. They have been eye witnesses to the long awaited work of God through His Son. The Romans couldn’t defeat Him and the grave couldn’t hold Him! “So, what’s next Jesus?” In other words…“Let’s finish this!” The disciples were still unsure about what was next on this “resurrection tour” of Jesus. The Scripture tells us that they were still thinking of Him establishing some sort of earthly kingdom. Since childhood they were taught that the Messiah would come and reestablish the kingdom of Israel. Their question to Jesus reveals that they were still thinking in those terms. Jesus quickly reminds them of the true purpose that lay ahead. It was for them to continue the work that He started. Not the work of building an earthly kingdom but the work of building the Kingdom of God. They still didn’t fully understand the commission that Jesus had given to them at the end of the Gospels,
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” – Matthew 28:18-20
You see the Book of Acts is the answer to the “What’s next?” of God’s story. It is the passing of the baton of the Gospel message to the people of God…the church. Once again, we are invited to be a part of God’s plan and to be His witnesses, to be His hands and feet to the world around us. We have been entrusted with the treasure of the message of Jesus! The Apostle Paul described it like this,
“All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to Himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making His appeal through us.” – 2 Corinthians 5:18-20
We have not only been entrusted with the gem of the Gospel, but we have also been empowered! Jesus says to the disciples in the verses above that they will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon them to be His witnesses! We do not have to rely on our own strength. It is God working through us, speaking through us, witnessing through us! The Book of Acts is a picture of what it looks like when the people of God launch out into the world around them by the power of the Holy Spirit in the name of Jesus. It turns the world upside down and it transforms lives!
Like the disciples we sometimes get distracted by the here and now. We tend to focus on our little corner of the world and forget the great calling. The commission of Jesus and these words at the beginning of Acts reveal to us the bigger picture. It shows us that the plan of God is a global plan…“make disciples of all nations”. It starts where you are and expands…“Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”