Bible Study: Acts 1
As a child, I was raised in the church and have fond memories of Sunday School, worship, and Vacation Bible School. In Seminary, I feel like my eyes and heart were opened to the Holy Spirit. In our Apostle’s Creed growing up, we called the ‘Holy Spirit,’ the ‘Holy Ghost.’ Therefore, I don’t remember the Spirit being talked about or even mentioned all that much. So, for me to think about the Holy Spirit and what the Spirit means to me in my life is relatively new.
In Acts 1, the Apostle Luke is continuing his story of Jesus Christ. Jesus has been crucified, died, and resurrected. I believe that Luke was there and witnessed all these things! However, there really is no proof of this. In either case, the writing is for Jesus’ disciples and what we are called to do as Christians.
It is the festival of Pentecost (also known as the ‘Feast of Weeks’) – now 50 days after Jesus was resurrected and 50 days after the Passover. Jesus had been presenting Himself alive to the disciples throughout this time. Now Jesus stands before them in a cloud ready to ascend into heaven. However, before He does, Jesus gives them very explicit directions about what they are supposed to do from that point forward. He tells them, “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). Jesus’ disciples are named “witnesses” – people who bear testimony to the truthfulness of what has been said or done. And then, Jesus ascends into heaven.
The disciples have their walking papers. But first, they have some business to take care of – to fulfill the missing disciple. They have two names in which, they prayed continually about in discernment. Casting lots, just to make sure it was not their will but the will of Jesus Christ, Matthias was added to the eleven disciples. Now, they are waiting on the Holy Spirit.
At first, this may not seem like such a tall order to proclaim and witness to Judea, Samaria and the ends of the earth. However, these places Jesus wanted them to go to proclaim Christ would be difficult. For example, Samaria hated the Jews and they did not like each other. What might they have to go through, change differently, pray for courage, in order to do what Jesus was calling and asking them to do? Therefore, what about us? What communities, countries, or groups of people who think, believe, and live differently than us are we being called to, in order to witness for Jesus Christ, the truthfulness of all He has said and done?
The journey is just beginning. Come with us as we learn from the Apostles of Jesus Christ, how we too can begin to witness in His name. It just may surprise you what the requirements are for doing the work of the Lord! The Good News is that Jesus has promised the Holy Spirit. We will not be alone! This Spirit is the Spirit of Jesus Christ!