Monday 20 April 2020

Bible Book:

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. (v. 8)

Acts 1:1-8 Monday 20 April 2020

Psalm: Psalm 26


Acts is a sequel to Luke’s Gospel and Luke starts his second volume with a similar preface to the one he wrote at the beginning of his Gospel, explaining to Theophilus the nature and purpose of his book. Part one was all about what Jesus did and taught. Part two is about all that happened after the ascension of Jesus and the arrival of the Holy Spirit.

Theophilus may be a real person – possibly a wealthy resident of Antioch where Luke was born. The name Theophilus means “lover of God” so this could also be a nickname or a generic way of addressing any person of faith.

The final chapter of Luke’s Gospel suggests that the resurrection and the ascension took place on the same day. Acts indicates that there was a forty-day period between the resurrection and the ascension (Acts 1:3). That is why Ascension Day is celebrated forty days after Easter in the church calendar. Eastern Orthodox Christians believe that the soul wanders around the earth for forty days after a person’s death and finally goes to heaven on the fortieth day – as Jesus did.

Jesus spent this time talking with the apostles about the kingdom of God. The apostles still seem to think that Jesus is going to rule the world as an earthly king and want to know when that is going to happen (verse 6) but Jesus refuses to give them a timetable. He tells them that, “... you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (verse 8). In the first century, the enthronement of a new king would be announced by messengers travelling throughout the territory. This is to be the role of the apostles. They are to share the good news that Jesus is King.

The movement from Jerusalem to Judea and then to Samaria and the ends of the earth is a very logical progression. It also gives us a programme for what we will see happening as we continue reading the Acts of the Apostles. Luke is providing us with an itinerary for the journey he is about to take us on.


To Ponder:

  • At what point do you think the soul goes to heaven?
  • If you were to tell the story of the activity of the Holy Spirit in your life, how would you begin?   
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