“Amazed and perplexed, the asked one another, ‘What does this mean?” The reaction of those outside the church is no different in the first century than now; they don’t understand the life and practice of Christians. What happens between the “making fun” of Chapter 2:13 and outsiders being added to the the faith in Chapter 2:47. Is it possible that seeing the power of loving community/boldness of Christian witness is a door for those outside to understand and embrace Christ? Let our witness be bold and our loving community in Christ be real to your glory O Lord.
“It is not for you to know the times or periods…But you will receive power…” Even after Jesus’ resurrection the disciples still are concerned with things that Jesus sees more as distraction. “Is this when you will restore your kingdom?” Jesus refocuses them on the coming Spirit and the power to be witnesses to Christ in the world. What questions occupy your thoughts? What distracts you from the main purposes of God for your life?” Distracting thoughts and busyness are plentiful for us Lord; deliver us from distraction so we may be a powerful witness to Christ.
“Jesus ordered them to wait there for the promise of the Father.” The book of Acts begins where the Gospel of Luke ends. After staying with and teaching his disciples, before his ascension, Jesus orders, that is commands them, to “wait.” No strategic planning committees, no fund raising campaigns, no busy weekends at church, no dynamic worship music sets or concerts. Only “wait for the promise of the Father.” What does waiting on God imply? What does “not waiting” imply? Are you inclined to do something or wait on God these days? Help us discover you in the waiting Lord.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…The writers of the New Testament see the resurrection as a central truth of Christian faith. Is the resurrection seen by modern Christians as the center of our faith? Why or why not? Is there a new birth or a living hope without the resurrection of Jesus Christ? How important is resurrection to the faith? May your church Lord, give testimony to the risen Christ!
“Do not be afraid, daughter of Zion. Look, your king is coming, sitting on a donkey’s colt!” Kings of Jesus’ day would celebrate their conquests with big pompous parades. Jesus enters his kingship on a donkey, as a humble servant of those who came to save. What might this suggest about the way Jesus enters the life of a sinner who needs him? What might it suggest about our approaches to ministry in our day? Let your church O Christ, live humbly, preach humbly, and be like Jesus in announcing his Lordship over all. Amen.
“They came to Philip…and said to him, ‘Sir, we wish to see Jesus.'” Seminars and classes teach many things about going out to share the Gospel with others. Many of these have valuable information and skills we can learn from, but often the simplicity of “people are looking for Jesus” gets lost. We don’t need to market Jesus a little better, people already wish to see Jesus. Am I ready to pay attention to those around me? Am I ready to point the way or share a word of my encounter with Jesus? Lord, let it be true of me!
“Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” Often the Good News of the Gospel is shared through the amazing word of John 3:16 – “he who believes…shall not perish but having eternal life.” No less of a wonder however is the God displayed in John 3:17 who did not send his Son to condemn, but to save the world. Do I present God as one who is more interested in saving than condemning? Why or why not? Give us your heart O God.
“After he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered he had said this… they believed the scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.” Being a disciple is a process. We don’t always catch things the first time. Some of what Jesus taught his first disciples had to simmer until after his death and resurrection. What parts of God’s word do I need to remember and believe so that it can be fruitful in my life? What have I been forgetting these days? Speak Jesus so that I might hear, understand, and live in congruence with your word. Amen.
“I try to find common ground with everyone; doing everything I can to save some…to spread the Good News…” This verse has been used to justify many actions and strategies to be “relevant” to different audiences as we share the Gospel. Paul’s point here is really more about sacrificing my understandings and cultural biases in order to put the Gospel first. How might my cultural perspectives, political views, and nationalistic pride get in the way of the message of the Gospel I preach and witness to? Lord, give me a heart to reach across barriers to share your Good News!
But while knowledge makes us feel important, it is love that strengthens the church. Anyone who claims to know all the answers doesn’t really know very much. In youth group, college, seminary, and ministry I’ve had occasion to debate many people on different sides of many different issues. What if knowledge is not the “main thing?” What if loves trumps right answers, Biblical accuracy, and what we think and believe? What is making you feel important these days that misses the strengthening that love could bring to those around you? Teach us Lord Jesus. Amen.