This week we come out of the crucifixion and resurrection to a new day. No longer are the disciples students. Jesus tarries with the disciples for 40 more days. Even during this time the disciples still don’t get the truth of what happened. Acts 1:6 indicates the spiritual dullness to Jesus Christ and His mission. I love the book of Acts for it is just a exciting and fast paced as Mark’s Gospel. I have often wondered what did Jesus teach the disciples the last forty days before His ascension? I am sure there was a lot of reassuring and reiterating about the things that had happened, to get them ready for what was going to happen.
The disciples were given a commission in Acts 1:8, but they had to wait for the power to be given to them before they could begin their ministry. In the 10 days they had in the Upper Room, they prayed and bonded, this is exactly what needed to be done, because after the Holy Spirit comes IN them they would be ignited and interrogated about the Message they preached. The disciples would have to be strong to persevere.
I have often wondered why Peter [prior to Holy Spirit] felt he needed to fill Judas’ place? Jesus selected all the apostles I think that Paul was God’s selection. I see the selection of Matthias as man again trying to do what he thinks God wants; but having never asked God anything.
Acts 2 is a remarkable passage, yet one that is filled with controversy. It wasn’t just the gifting of the Holy Spirit, but the question of the filling of the Holy Spirit. Some denominations believes that one must belief, be baptized and speak in tongues before salvation is real. Something that is often missed, the “gifting” of the Holy Spirit was manifested to each of the groups – Jews, Samaritans and Gentiles. The laying on of hands by the apostles was the method of authenticating that salvation was for all people. The book of Acts is a historical record of how God in fact did spread the Gospel to all people through the apostles. Every time there was a new people group/class, the affirmed giving of the Holy Spirit was done by the Apostles. That being said, today we receive the Holy Spirit immediately at salvation. The Gospel has been established, we do not need the layering on of hands to impart the Holy Spirit to us.
It is amazing to see the transformation of Peter in chapter 2; he now has something to say – before he tried to speak of things he didn’t have a clue about. But now with the indwelling Spirit he stands and proclaims the truth of the Crucifixion and resurrection. This is now the hot headed Peter from before, this is now the instrument of God to spread the Gospel. The 3000 souls and later 5000 souls saved overwhelms me of the power of the Gospel – Romans 1:16-17.
There have been many attempts to try and duplicate the “church model” found in Acts 2:41-47. I have heard many that say “oh that we could be like the church in Acts.” Yet how many churches are willing to die to self for the unity of the church? How many are willing to go through persecution for the spread of the Gospel? Not many is the answer. First and foremost the people had to come together in prayer – 10 days of praying. When the Great Awakenings happened, prayer was the catalyst. 2 Chronicles 7:14 still works, but the cost seems to be higher than what most Christians are willing to pay.
In the first few chapters of Acts we find Peter and John in the limelight. Peter is empowered, also imprisoned, but it doesn’t matter for he is embolden with the Lord’s glorious power!
The resistance or opposition that was Christ’s soon becomes the Apostles. The Jewish religious leaders can’t afford to have the truth of Jesus propagated. They were guilt of the atrocities against Jesus; the Apostles became dangerous, they had to be eliminated. But the same problem existed – the common people embraced all the miracles and healings done through their hands.
The Apostles were unafraid, always in trouble, yet full of joy and gladness as God continued to cause praising, gladness and oneness among the people. If we want what they had, i believe we will have to go through what they did. It wasn’t about Church as much as it was about Christ – the risen Christ – and to Him be all Glory and Praise!!!