Luke is writing a 2nd book to Theophilus Luke references his former book's purpose of describing to Theophilus what Jesus did and taught before being taken up to heaven Luke starts his Book capturing Jesus last days with the Apostles after his "suffering" (crucifixion) & resurrection until Jesus' ascension 40 days later. The day Jesus ascends he commands the Apostles not to leave Jerusalem because in a few days they would receive the Holy Spirit They knew about the Holy Spirit because they heard Jesus speak about the Spirit before The Apostles ask Jesus if this would finally be the time that He restores the long awaited Kingdom to Israel Jesus tells the Apostles it's "none of your business" what date/times this would happen... ... and then he redirects their focus from "the great coming" to "the great commission" The Apostles will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes and they will be witnesses in Jerusalem, through out Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth Right after speaking those words Jesus is "taken up" as the Apostles watch until a cloud hides him "Suddenly" two men dressed in white appear and tell them that Jesus will return in the same way Luke then informs Theophilus that all this took place on the Mt. of Olives and then the disciples return to Jerusalem They return to an "upstairs room" that the 11 Apostles (minus Judas), the women, Mary and Jesus' brothers are staying They joined together in constant prayer All together there were 120 believers Peter stands before the believers and states Judas' betrayal was according to Scripture (Psalm 69:25 & 109:8) and someone should take his place of leadership
Luke then inserts a side note that Judas took the money he received for betraying Jesus and bought a field where "he fell headlong, his body burst open and all his intestines spilled out" Peter states that "nominees" need to be disciples that had been with them from the time of John's baptism to Jesus' ascension to join them as witnesses of the resurrection "They" nominate two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias "They" prayed for God to sovereignly choose who should replace Judas through their casting of lots Lot went to Matthias and he was added to the 11 Apostles
Like the disciples I'm curious when Jesus is returning and fully establishing & restoring His reign yet Jesus is more concerned with his disciples being witnesses and making disciples to the ends of the earth. We also have the Holy Spirit's power to witness today. From prayer meetings throughout the week to spontaneous prayer sessions that lasted hours, I've tasted the sweetness and fruit from joining constantly in prayer with others. How can corporate prayer with others be more of a rhythm in my life today? Peter's prerequisite for a disciple being worthy of an Apostle was not knowledge, gifting, skills, degrees, etc. but that he was "with us" and our master (rabbi). I need to remember that so much of discipleship is caught vs. taught and therefore it's the relational "with us" life that I see how to follow Jesus in others and others can see, hear and feel what following Jesus looks like by my witness and way of life
Risen Lord, thank you for this day to worship you as King of Kings. I confess that I can get distracted by the unimportant or less important things. May my heart, mind and strength be empowered by your Spirit today to be your witness. My I witness by serving others, listening well to others and may I witness with my words. Lord, I've been somewhat silent about you recently to non-Christians. Open the door this week to help be boldly witness about you and what you're doing in my life.
Spirit, take my mind, my affections, my eyes, my feet, my hands, my ears, my voice and use me to bear witness to the resurrection today as I make disciples... whether through a simple text or email or face-to-face walking with someone. Spirit, ignite me and unite me to pray with others with the expectation and anticipation that you are drawing the lost around us to Jesus. From Stay & Play to Trinity's new street ministry.... from Gateway to our neighbors and co-workers, may we bear witness to your goodness and what your Kingdom's all about. In Jesus' name.
Posted on Wed, February 4, 2015
by Rob Schultz