December 29th, 2006
When Jesus disappeared, his followers were left staring into the sky. It’s the sort of moment that many people experience after an encounter with Jesus. The emotion of the moment dies away and you are left wondering how it affects the rest of your life, and what you are meant to do next. So, is following Jesus an event, which just happens one day, or a process which continues throughout the rest of your life? A decision to follow Jesus is just the start of a process which continues throughout the rest of a person’s life. It’s a process of growing more like Jesus, experiencing community with other believers more deeply, and discovering and developing spiritual gifts.
The Acts of the Apostles — Chapter 1
1:1 The first book I wrote, Theophilus, was about everything that Jesus did and taught, 1:2 until the day he was taken up, after he had given instructions through the Holy Spirit to his chosen apostles. 1:3 Over a period of forty days after his suffering he appeared to them and proved in many ways that he was alive, and spoke about God’s Kingdom. 1:4 At one gathering with them, he instructed them, “Don’t leave Jerusalem. Wait for what the Father has promised, which I told you about. 1:5 John did baptize people in water, but you will be baptized in the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
1:6 While they were meeting they asked him, “Lord, are you now restoring the kingdom to Israel?” 1:7 He said to them, “You don’t get to know the times or seasons which the Father has set by his own authority. 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you. You will my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the furthest parts of the earth.”
1:9 When he had said this, as they were watching, he was taken up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 1:10 While they were gazing intently into the sky as he went, two men stood near them in white clothing. 1:11 They said, “Galileans, why are you staring into the sky? Jesus has been taken up from you into the sky but will come back in the same way as you saw him going into the sky.”
1:12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mountain called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey away. 1:13 They arrived at the house where they were staying and went to the upper room: Peter, John, James, Andrew, Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas the son of James. 1:14 All these were unified in devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus and his brothers.
1:15 One day Peter stood up in front of about 120 of the disciples and said, 1:16 “Brothers, a prediction of Scripture had to be fulfilled. The Holy Spirit spoke it through the mouth of David, and it was about Judas, who guided the people who seized Jesus. 1:17 He was counted as one of us and had a share in this ministry. 1:18 He bought a field with the proceeds of his treachery, and he fell on it headfirst, his body bursting open, so that his intestines spilled out. 1:19 This became known to everyone who lived in Jerusalem so they called the field in their language ‘Akeldama,’ that is, ‘The field of blood.’ 1:20 The book of Psalms predicted, ‘Let his home be deserted. Let no one live there,’ and, ‘Let someone else take his position.’
1:21 “So one of the men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went around with us, 1:22 beginning from the baptism by John, to the day that he was received up from us, must become a witness with us of his resurrection.”
1:23 They nominated two, Joseph called Barsabbas, surnamed Justus, and Matthias. 1:24 They prayed, and said, “Lord, you know the hearts of all people. Show which one of these two you have chosen 1:25 to take the position in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas fell away so that he could go his own way.” 1:26 They drew lots, and the lot fell on Matthias, so he was numbered with the eleven apostles.
Entry Filed under: Perseverance