December 24 - Acts 1:1-5

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Acts 1:1-5 – The Promise of the Holy Spirit

Luke opens this book by summarizing all that he had written in his Gospel. It was actually quite a brief summary “all that Jesus began to do and teach” (Luke 1:1). The wonderful thing about this summary, though, is that there is no conclusion.

Jesus began to do and teach … leads into and through the book of Acts. It is unfinished because the work that Jesus began continues today. After Luke summarizes Jesus’ work, he reminds Theophilus of the commands that Jesus gave to his disciples prior to his Ascension. He spent forty days with the disciples after the Resurrection and in that time gave them a great deal of teaching. He opened their minds to the scriptures and commissioned them to the mission of spreading the Good News. He promised them the Gift of the Holy Spirit. This was a transition period for them. They knew without hesitation the power of God and who the Messiah truly was. There was no longer any question in their minds.

The number forty fills the Scriptures. From the flood in Genesis 7:17, to Moses’ time on Mount Sinai (Exodus 24:18; 34:28), Israel’s wanderings in Exodus 16:35 and Elijah’s time in 1 Kings 19:8, Ezra’s dictation in 4 Ezra 14:23, 36, 42-45 took forty days and Jesus spent forty days in the wilderness before he began his ministry (Luke 4:2).

Throughout Luke’s gospel, the work of the Spirit is found and now, in Acts we read that Jesus gave “commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen” (Luke 1:2). He tells them to stay in Jerusalem to wait for God’s promise, “for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now” (Luke 1:5).

Jesus’ teaching which they were very familiar with, would continue through the presence of the Spirit.