Friday

13 July 2012

"And see, I am sending upon you what my Father promised; so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high." (v. 49)



Background

Jesus appeared to the disciples all gathered together after his resurrection. He helped them to make sense of the disaster of the crucifixion and the miracle of the resurrection. He encouraged them to look at the events, not judged according to the values of human ways of understanding, but in the light of God's ways, ways that are discerned in the stories of Scripture and fulfilled through Jesus.

Jesus reminded the disciples of his words to them while he was still alive, and helped them to see that everything that he said to them, explained the ways of God. His death and resurrection fulfilled the dynamic of God's love and commitment to the world underlying the Law of Moses, the prophets and the psalms. The Law of Moses outlines the ethical identity of Judaism - a people blessed by God to be a blessing. The law was interpreted by the prophets as they recalled a forgetful people to the ways of God. The book of psalms is filled with the prayers of the Jewish people, and reflects their anguish and joy as a dislocated people in slavery and then led to freedom, in exile and then restored to their land. The psalms are deeply reflected in the spirituality of Jesus.

Jesus helped the disciples to see Scripture in a new way. He opened their minds to see that the crucifixion and resurrection, the way of the Cross, were a fulfilment of God's ways. That through resurrection, God brought the possibility to repent, to turn around from limited and damaged perspectives and start again.

The disciples were the primary witnesses to the truth of the resurrection (verse 48). They lived through the reality of the death and resurrection, and were to be empowered for a new beginning.

The disciples were to wait in Jerusalem to receive "power from on high" (v. 49) the gift of the Holy Spirit. The spirit would empower them to be effective witnesses to the ways of God, to all the nations. The spirit would give them power to 'be' and to share 'good news.'



To Ponder

  • Why do you think that Jesus needed to open the minds of the disciples to understand the Scriptures? What example can you think of when your mind has been opened to understand a passage of Scripture in a different way, which has been a powerful experience?
  • Can you think of an occasion when you have felt empowered to say just the right word, or do just the right thing? How did it feel?
  • How do you start to make sense of the way of crucifixion and resurrection, the way of the Cross, in your experience of following Jesus?

 

Bible notes author: The Revd Jenny Ellis

Image: © 2012 Photos.com, a division of Getty Images. All rights reserved.  

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