Thursday, May 16, 2013

an end and a beginning

Good morning brothers and sisters,
We've been walking through the church season of Easter, which reflects on and celebrates Jesus' resurrection from the dead. The Gospels all tell the story of Jesus rising from the dead, and and most tell stories about the risen Jesus spending time with his disciples to get them ready for their ministry in the world. Luke's Gospel takes it a step further. It talks about the disciples spending time with Jesus and then closes as they watch him go into heaven. But then Luke's Gospel has a "Part 2," which is the Book of Acts. Acts starts with Jesus giving some closing words to his disciples and goes on to show their ministry in the power of the Holy Spirit as these men and women become the church.

Today's reading from Acts sets the stage for what is to come. It starts with an introduction Luke writes to "Theophilus." It's not clear if this is a particular person Luke knew or if it's really an introduction for all believers (Theophilus means, "Lover of God" in Greek.) From there we get last words from Jesus and his ascension into heaven. Here's where our story begins.

God bless,


Acts 1:1-11
In the first book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus did and taught from the beginning 2until the day when he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. 3After his suffering he presented himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. 4While staying with them, he ordered them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for the promise of the Father. “This,” he said, “is what you have heard from me; 5for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

6So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7He replied, “It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. 8But 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.”

9When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10While he was going and they were gazing up toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. 11They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”

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