Each day of the 14 day Daniel fast, Nate and I will be reading two chapters in Acts. I’m going to write a little bit about what three things stood out to me most and post it the following day.
Day 1: Acts 1 & 2
The disciples didn’t know WHAT they were getting or WHEN they were getting the Holy Spirit
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. John baptized with water, but in just a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
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?”
He replied, “The Father alone has the authority to set those dates and times, and they are not for you to know. 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.”
When Jesus told his disciples about their gift of the Holy Spirit, they got it all wrong. Even though Jesus clearly says that they will be baptized with the Holy Spirit, as soon as they hear “gift,” they’ve tuned out! How many times have I done that? I think I know exactly how God needs to bless me. The disciples ask if their power and stature will be restored. They’re thinking on a much smaller scale than what God can and will provide them.
They also ask if the time is now. Today our culture is even more wrapped up in the NOW and getting instant gratification. I probably would have been the disciple shouting time lines out to Jesus as he floated up on His cloud. “Are we talking Days? Months? Years?”
Turnt up on God
They were completely amazed. “How can this be?” they exclaimed. “These people are all from Galilee, and yet we hear them speaking in our own native languages! Here we are—Parthians, Medes, Elamites, people from Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus, the province of Asia, Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, and the areas of Libya around Cyrene, visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism), Cretans, and Arabs. And we all hear these people speaking in our own languages about the wonderful things God has done!” They stood there amazed and perplexed. “What can this mean?” they asked each other.
But others in the crowd ridiculed them, saying, “They’re just drunk, that’s all!”
I am by nature a cynic and a skeptic. For a long time in my Christian journey, I thought “Okay, this Jesus thing is great… But let’s not get carried away.”
Honestly, I often looked to the people who were “sold out for Jesus,” with pity. Giving up your job? Moving your family? What are you – drunk? Well, I think it’s safe to say at this point our family has pretty much all our chips in. There’s probably at least a few people who might accuse us of being drunk or foolish with the way we try to live our lives for God – and I hope there are! My prayer is that our lives make people question us… and try to find answers in God.
They grew daily, without marketing or social media
All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer.
A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity - all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.
Man, what an awesome community! I hope and pray that anywhere we go and anything we do, we develop this type of body. But what strikes me most about this passage is how their numbers grew.
Today we have connectivity like never before – at least in theory. Our churches can have websites, social media reach, commercials on TV and radio – but statistically, churches are stagnant. The early church had no crutches to “advertise” Jesus. They created a community that people wanted to be a part of. I imagine that people heard of and experienced their love for others, even before they experienced their love for Christ. These people were truly living the two greatest commandments of loving Christ and each other.
Those are my three biggest thoughts and takeaways from Acts 1 & 2!