Sunday 5 June, 2016

Acts 1:1-5

1 Theophilus, I wrote about Jesus in my earlier book. I wrote about all he did and taught 2 until the day he was taken up to heaven. Before Jesus left, he gave orders to the apostles he had chosen. He did this through the Holy Spirit. 3 After his suffering and death, he appeared to them. In many ways he proved that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of 40 days. During that time he spoke about God’s kingdom. 4 One day Jesus was eating with them. He gave them a command. “Do not leave Jerusalem,” he said. “Wait for the gift my Father promised. You have heard me talk about it. 5 John baptized with water. But in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

What a great start! Luke, the author of Acts launches in, boots and all, saying “My first book was all about Jesus. Now I’m going to tell you about the Holy Spirit and how the story continues.”  I’m hooked.  But there’s a phrase that I can’t get passed in verse 4.  Jesus says “don’t leave Jerusalem…” It’s left me pondering.

What was significant about Jerusalem? Was it the temple? Was it because it was where Jesus ascended into heaven? I don’t know.  What I do know is that all the disciples stayed together and worshipped! (see the last verse in Luke’s first book!).  Jerusalem meant they were together.

Something very special and awe-inspiring happens when followers of Jesus meet together to pray and worship. The unity, humility and single-minded hunger for God seems to move His heart.  He comes. He sits in on our praises (Psalm 22:3) and comes close. This is a blessing and a joy and a mystery that defies words.  When the church draws near to God, He comes.

It’s so cool that the Holy Spirit was first given to the church as they “stayed in Jerusalem and worshipped.”  This puts the importance of church in a whole new light.

Lord I see the significance of being in Church.  I want your presence more than anything. So I will stay in “Jerusalem” with my Church Family and worship with all my heart.  And I will meet you there! Amen

Written by Boudy Van Noppen

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