After Jesus rose from the dead he instructed the apostles to wait in Jerusalem. They stayed together and saw him a number of times. He taught them and encouraged them. This must have been a very precious time for these early followers. They had experienced much together. In their final meeting, the apostles received something they did not expect. While gathering with Christ, they wanted to know if He was going to restore the earthly and spiritual kingdom promised in the Old Testament. They wondered, “at this time?” In typical form, Jesus responded in a way they had not anticipated. It was not for them to know when the earthly kingdom would come. It was for them to do something else. The prophecy of Acts 1:8 is a significant prophecy in the book. Often the verse is presented in the following manner, “just as the disciples were to share Christ in their neighborhood, region and world so we are to share Christ in our neighborhood, region and world.” Although it makes for good encouragement it does not accurately explain the verse. The statement was not a call for action. It was a prophecy. It was a revelation of what God was going to do through them. Notice the two future verbs found in Acts 1:8, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you” and “you will be my witnesses…” Jesus was not encouraging them to get going and stop worrying about what to do next. He was telling them what the next step of his program would be.
They would experience uncommon power through the Holy Spirit and they would declare the message of the gospel, starting in Jerusalem and extending it through the whole world. The book of Acts is the revelation of this prophecy from Jerusalem to Rome. The message extended to other parts of the world as well but Luke only gives us one part of the ongoing development. The book gives a wonderful perspective as we are able to understand how the early church developed and grew. It was not scattered, random progression that happened by accident. There is a plan and process of how churches were started and how they matured.
Please continue to visit this blog as we trace the activities and events of the first century church. We will seek to discover what the early church was like. We will also seek to discover what we are expected to copy.