Tuesday in the First Week of Ordinary Time

Acts 1:1-5

Those Forty Days

I don’t think that I have ever heard a sermon on those most important days after our Lord’s resurrection and just before his ascension.  Perhaps this is because they are somewhat shrouded in mystery.  We are not given many details of what happened during that time, but the passage does tell us this much: 1) Christ gave commands to his apostles through the Holy Spirit; 2) He presented himself to them after his resurrection during those forty days providing many proofs that he was indeed alive; 3) He spoke to them about the Kingdom of God; and, 4) He specifically commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem until they received “the promise of the Father” about which Jesus, himself, had previously informed them, a promise that would be fulfilled “not many days from now.”

Luke begins his “Acts of the Apostles” – which some have rightly said should be called the “Acts of the Holy Spirit,” as it is his work we see throughout – referring to the Gospel he had written before.  He doesn’t delineate what this book will be about as he does in Luke 1:1-4, but we already know: Luke will speak of the work of the Holy Spirit in the growth of the Church as disciples are made beginning in Jerusalem to Judea to Samaria to the uttermost parts of the earth (1:8), the very work the apostles did in obedience to our Lord’s commissioning of them as we read about yesterday in Matthew 28:16-20.

But it seems that much of this work is predicated upon those precious forty days our Lord spent with his disciples (learners) now turned apostles (sent ones).  For starters, they needed to know beyond all doubt that Jesus had, indeed, risen from the dead.  These men would eventually be martyred for the message they would preach, and the hinge to which that message was fastened was the resurrection of Jesus Christ – the declaration that Christ was Lord over death, hell, and the kingdoms of this world, including Caesar’s.  Of this, they had to be thoroughly convinced.  As for what commands he gave them through the Holy Spirit we can only guess.  Jesus did all of his works through the agency of the Spirit so that phrase should not surprise us.  But given that the passage also tells us that he spoke to them about the Kingdom of God, I am inclined to believe that much of what Jesus commanded them had to do with: 1) The precise content of the gospel they would preach; and, 2) The establishment of his Church as believers were gathered into the visible manifestation of his Kingdom on earth.  For the power to accomplish this otherwise impossible task, they had to wait for the baptism of the Holy Spirit.  Nothing has changed.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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