Michael Gerhardt, 10-06-19, Wait for It, read Luke 1:1-4 and Acts 1:1-3. Do you like to wait? You’ve heard good things happen to those who wait. Of course, better things come to those who don’t give up waiting! And the best things come to those who cut in line and get there first. I’m not very patient. Amazon's two-day shipping isn’t fast enough. Then there is that long thirty-second wait for my breakfast burrito to microwave or the 40-second traffic light that seems like ten minutes. Some define patience as the ability to count down before blasting off. This sermon isn’t about patience so you can breathe easier but let’s ask: What are you waiting for? Waiting for your moment to shine; waiting for your ship to come in (which may be a good way of missing the boat). Waiting for your 15 minutes of fame. Waiting for the other shoe to drop. Waiting for Godot (Samuel Beckett drama). Maybe you’re like me, waiting for your number to come up.
In the first two verses of this book, Luke looked back to his Gospel. Theophilus, a believer in Christ, may have been Luke’s patron who financed the writing of Luke and Acts. These books would instruct Theophilus, as well as the church in the faith. The verb began indicates that Acts continues the account of Jesus’ ministry on earth. Jesus gave two directions before ascending: they were to wait in Jerusalem and they were to go into the world. Contradictory? Luke 24:49-51: “I am going to send you what my Father has promised, but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. Acts gives more detail to this scene.
You have heard that Jesus' last command should be our first priority, referring to the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20 to go into all the world and preach the gospel. Yet Jesus gave his very last command to his disciples in Acts 1:4-5. He literally told them to wait for it.
Verse 5. John had predicted a Spirit baptism by the Lord. The greatness of Christ was seen in the fact that John identified repentant people by water baptism; Jesus would identify and empower people by the Holy Spirit. The word baptized, which normally means dipped or immersed, here has the idea of uniting with. The Lord made the same prediction of Spirit baptism that John made.
Jesus told them to wait a few days. About 120 men and women were packed into that upper room, waiting, praying, waiting, fasting, waiting… they voted on a twelfth disciple, then waited some more. Can you imagine? A few days go by and someone would say, what are we waiting for? How much more until the thing happens? Did we hear this correctly? John the baptizer said: I baptize you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with Fire. BUT WHEN? Five days pass into six then seven. What's going on? Maybe we got it wrong? Eight days into nine. Who is the leader here? Who is taking charge? Why are we still here? I haven't changed clothes or washed in ten days. Then Pentecost happened. We will look at that next time.
In verse 3 Luke spoke of the Lord’s post-resurrection appearances. Jesus gave many convincing proofs. The Greek word “proofs” (tekmēriois) occurs only here. It is a legal term for demonstrable evidence in contrast with evidence provided by just witnesses. In other words, the Resurrection was proven by touch, sight, and feel. Jesus ate with them. John testifies to that as well as Paul. 40 days the Lord appeared to a crowd of 500 and discussed the kingdom. What is meant by this term? God has always ruled over the world and over Israel and always will. However, there’s a time is coming when God will establish His rule on earth. Though this topic was the subject of much of the Lord’s teaching and preaching before the Cross, He needed to discuss it further during His 40-day ministry. We pray: Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. We are here to Know the King and Serve His Kingdom. Some believe Jesus' Kingdom on earth was figurative, some believe it is spiritual and it is the church, some believe it is still to come when Jesus is King and reigns on the earth. Let’s read verse 6: The disciples’ question, Lord are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel? In the disciples’ minds the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and the coming of the promised Messianic earthly kingdom were closely associated in Isaiah, Ezekiel 39:28–29; Joel 2:28–3:1; Zechariah 12:8–10. When Christ told of the soon-coming Spirit, they concluded that the restoration of Israel’s kingdom was also near. They still had not completely understood the timing. Some conclude from the Lord’s response that the apostles had a false concept of the kingdom. But Christ did not accuse them of this. This would have been the time for Him to correct it. The fact is Jesus taught the coming of an earthly Messianic literal kingdom. Acts 1:3 states that the Lord instructed the disciples about the kingdom; He certainly gave them the right impression as to its character and future coming. Verse 7 What Jesus discussed here was the time of the coming of the kingdom. chronous basically describes the duration of time. kairous refers to an event both length and kinds (as in hard times). The disciples were not to know either the time or the critical events the Father had set by His authority. Later, the further revelation would be made concerning these things in Thessalonians and Revelation.
Verse 8 Instead of knowing the times or dates, the apostles were to be Christ’s witnesses to the ends of the earth. This they were to do after they had been empowered by the Holy Spirit. The ends of the earth may be Rome, the center of world civilization and a significant distance from Jerusalem.
1:9–11. The Lord’s Ascension also anticipates His return. He will come back in a cloud, bodily, in view of people (Rev. 1:7), and to the Mount of Olives (Zech. 14:4) the same way the apostles saw Him go. The Ascension marked the end of Jesus' earthly ministry. It also exalted Him to the right hand of the Father. The continuing work of Christ on earth was now placed in the hands of His disciples. It was imperative that the Ascension occurred so that the promised Comforter could come. The Holy Spirit would empower the disciples as they ministered the gospel here, there and everywhere.