Acts is the sequel to the Gospel of Luke, which is the “first book” he refers to (Acts 1:1). Where Luke has told the story of Jesus while he was on earth, Acts will continue the story of what happened to the disciples as they carry on his work. Luke hints at the shift that is coming from Jesus to the apostles by reminding us that “he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen”(Acts 1:2). They know what Jesus wants and expects.
He also “presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God”(Acts 1:3). These forty days are a time when the apostles are able to repeatedly see the resurrected Jesus and hear him in a new way. Having already “opened their minds to understand the Scriptures”(Luke 24:45), he now speaks to them about the kingdom of God. Their understanding of this is incomplete (see Acts 1:6), yet in these forty days they begin to understand that Jesus’ suffering and death was all a part of God’s plan. He insists that they wait in Jerusalem to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:5), a topic we will explore further in coming days.
Forty days is a biblically significant number—it is the duration of Noah’s flood, Moses’ time on the mountain, the spies’ time in Canaan, and Jesus’ fast. Yet these forty days are important because they give grounding to the apostles. Without this time with Jesus, they might grow unsure about whether he was truly raised, unclear on how this fulfilled Messianic promises, and uncertain about whether they should continue following him. The tremendous growth the apostles demonstrate in the book of Acts must be at least partially attributable to these forty days. In the same way, we need time and patient teaching to have the grounding we need in the faith.
------------- One Thing to Think About: Does it ever take me some time to get used to a new truth or new reality?
One Thing to Pray For: Willingness to listen and learn
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