Power to Live with Uncertainty

Acts 1:1-14

1 In my first book I told you, Theophilus, about everything Jesus began to do and teach 2 until the day he was taken up to heaven after giving his chosen apostles further instructions through the Holy Spirit. 3 During the forty days after he suffered and died, he appeared to the apostles from time to time, and he proved to them in many ways that he was actually alive. And he talked to them about the Kingdom of God.

4 Once when he was eating with them, he commanded them, “Do not leave Jerusalem until the Father sends you the gift he promised, as I told you before. 5 John baptized with water, but in just a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

6 So when the apostles were with Jesus, they kept asking him, “Lord, has the time come for you to free Israel and restore our kingdom?”

7 He replied, “The Father alone has the authority to set those dates and times, and they are not for you to know. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

9 After saying this, he was taken up into a cloud while they were watching, and they could no longer see him. 10 As they strained to see him rising into heaven, two white-robed men suddenly stood among them. 11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!”

12 Then the apostles returned to Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, a distance of half a mile. 13 When they arrived, they went to the upstairs room of the house where they were staying.

Here are the names of those who were present: Peter, John, James, Andrew, Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew, James (son of Alphaeus), Simon (the zealot), and Judas (son of James). 14 They all met together and were constantly united in prayer, along with Mary the mother of Jesus, several other women, and the brothers of Jesus.

Here we are at the book of Acts – wow! So much is packed into just these first few verses.

Imagine what it would be like if the Book of Acts wasn’t in the Bible. As you read your Bible you would see the ministry of Jesus ending in the Gospel of John; next you read about a man named Paul writing to the followers of Jesus in Rome. Who was Paul? How did the gospel get from Jerusalem to Rome? The book of Acts answers these questions.

According to commentaries, archaeologists and Bible scholars have convincing proof that Acts is the work of contemporary eyewitnesses. And what an amazing eyewitness account it is!

The resurrected Jesus presented himself to the apostles and gave many convincing proofs that He was alive over a period of forty days. This is truly remarkable and cannot be discounted as a written work of fiction.

What really stood out to me today is the exchange between the resurrected Jesus and His followers. The disciples wanted to know God’s specific plans – what’s next Jesus?? Tell us how this is all going to play out.

Jesus answered that it is not for them to know the Father’s specific plans for the future. Their job was to wait for the Holy Spirit’s power and then share the good news of Jesus’ grace and forgiveness with others.

If you are like me, this can be a tough thing to do. Trusting God for the future without knowing all the timing and specifics of God’s plans is an act of faith. And for that I need the power of the Holy Spirit to continue to follow Jesus even when I don’t understand what He is up to.

Father, today I’m reminded that I’m not alone in my struggle to trust You in times of uncertainty. But I am so grateful for the power of the Holy Spirit that gives me the grace to keep going, to continue following in Your ways even when life gets tough. Yours (not mine) is the Kingdom, Yours is the power, Yours is the glory. Amen

Written by Shelley Witt

You may also find this excellent Bible Project overview of the first half of Acts helpful, at https://bibleproject.com/explore/video/acts-1-12/

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