The eleven men following Jesus came abruptly to a defining moment in their lives. One day Jesus just stopped near Jerusalem and told these men not to leave the city again, but to wait for what God the Father had promised, which He had already told them about. What promise? When did Jesus tell them about it? These men were still caught up in “old” thinking, so naturally they assumed He was about to establish an earthly kingdom.
This thought process led them to ask, “Is it time? Are you about to restore Israel?” In some ways I think this may have saddened Jesus a little. Even after three years, after the crucifixion and the resurrection, they still didn’t “get it.” So, one more time, Jesus explained it…
“It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” ~ Acts 1:7-8
Jesus left them standing there, wide-eyed, with their mouths open, while they watched until He disappeared from their sight – ascending back to His rightful place of Lordship and Ruler of the universe.
In just a few days from now, January 13th to be exact, I will be teaching a new bible study class titled, “Acts: The unfinished Works of Jesus.” This will be an in-depth study, which will be foundation-ally supported by looking into the history, culture, language, and identity issues of these first century Christ-followers who established the Church.
And when I say “church,” I’m not talking about the Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Episcopal, or Church of Christ… denominational church. I’m not talking about the Roman Catholic Church. I’m talking about the Bride of Christ which Jesus called “His Church.” Where did He make this statement?
Jesus was asking the twelve, (including Judas Iscariot), who the people at large were saying He was. Everybody had a different answer until Peter proclaimed,
“You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God!” ~ Matthew 16:16
If you stop reading there you’ll miss the point entirely. Jesus responded to this grand confession this way:
“Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.” ~17-18
The Church established by Jesus in Acts, is His church. It’s not my church, it’s not your church, nobody owns it but Jesus.
The study of the book of Acts will be exciting as we understand how everything which happens is but a fulfillment of what Jesus promised these eleven men that day of Peter’s confession. Hence the title of the study, the “Unfinished Works of Jesus.”
Should you like to follow along on this journey, I will be recording these lessons to post on this blog. You’ll be able to download a Word document outline to each lesson, and take your own notes for discussion with your friends and family. Who knows… some of you might take the outline with your own notes, and go teach these discoveries to someone else. And in this way, Jesus will still be working… to build His church!