Can you recall enjoying a good read or a great film and thinking “I wish life was a bit like that”? When I read of Jesus’s life and miracles in the gospels I tend to think just that – I wish life was a bit like that (or more so I wish it was A LOT like that). Luke who wrote Acts helps us to understand that not only can life be a lot like what we read in the gospels, but that we have a rich history that tells us it’s been like that for the early church. And that moreover, God’s plans are that we continue to experience life like that in our day – Spirit empowered and life transforming.
In Acts we see that Jesus’ mission rather than taking a nose dive with his exit, actually leads to the upward growth of the church! Jesus continues his miraculous, love shaped, life transforming acts through his body the church. A lot of Christians may be discouraged by the popular rhetoric that the church is an outdated, irrelevant relic of the past with her faith being more myth than matter of fact.
However, as we read in Acts 1 the life of Christ and birth of the church is based on credible and valid eye witness accounts. And astonishingly the church is viewed as the most important body on earth! Think about it, Jesus with the aim of propelling his redemptive mission on earth didn’t go in his last days to the powerful government in authority, the R&D department of a mega company, acclaimed intellectuals, or skilled orators that could provoke a whole generation. Instead he chose his church, the body of Christ. It is this body of people (aka the body of Christ) by which Jesus shall bring his healing, transformative and saving power to the world. To borrow a quote from Terry Virgo, “the church is the hope of the world”. Do you see the church as such? When you look at your brothers and sisters in the church do you see them as being the hope of the world? Do you see yourself as part of this great hope?
Jesus said “..you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” What an amazing promise this is for the church and for you! Breaking this down we see that firstly, those who follow Jesus can expect that the Holy Spirit has power in store for them to experience. And secondly this power is to enable us to be Jesus’s witnesses. And thirdly, as a believer you are made to be a witness for Jesus (a person whose life tells of the truth of Jesus’ reign as God and saviour).
As a believer you have the most powerful, most wisest and most influential person with you – the Holy Spirit. He is the one that gives us power to follow Jesus and to be like Jesus and on mission with him to help the world know and enjoy him forever.
Prayer – Lord thank you that your church is the hope of the world and that you shall bring about healing, transformation and salvation to the world through your church. I thank you that I am a part of your continued ministry on earth. Please help the church’s as well as my faith, perseverance and vision for this to grow where it needs to, amen.