Easter weekend has passed and I find myself breathing a sigh of relief. The remnants of a busy weekend remain visible all over my house. Thousands of plastic eggs from the city egg hunt are stacked in boxes in the corner, Easter baskets and the treasures that they originally held are scattered on the dining room table. I am still catching up on laundry and the housework that was ignored for other activities. Candy wrappers seem to be everywhere, why did I buy all that candy again?
With the holiday over we can begin to focus on spring projects, gardening ideas and plans for the summer. A nice break from the extra celebrations, services and gatherings. I’m sure that is what the disciples were thinking when all the commotion Jesus had caused subsided. Jesus did the work he had promised to do: he died, rose again and then ascended into Heaven where he belonged. They finally had time to put in a new vineyard, redecorate the messy upper room and go fishing. What a relief to have that crazy Passover celebration behind them.
What did the early Christians do after Jesus left them? How can we know what the apostles were busy with after all this took place?
How convenient that a book was written to address these very questions (and many more). It falls right in proper order after the recordings of the life of Jesus found in the gospels and is entitled “Acts” or “The Acts of the Apostles.” The Bible comes through again.
Check out Acts 1:8, as Jesus is ascending into Heaven he promises that they (the apostles) “will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in all Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Sounds like Jesus had some serious work for these men to do.
After this the disciples head back to Jerusalem and enter into an upper room. The names of all the apostles are listed and then we read in verse 14, “All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.” The first thing they did was to meet together and seek God in prayer. We need to continue to meet together through church services, Bible studies and times of fellowship. We also need to be in prayer and seeking God’s will, strength and wisdom.
Not many days later was the day of Pentecost, another Jewish festival. The disciples of Jesus were once again gathered together, “And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house… And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit…” Acts 2:2, 4. The promised Helper had come, the Spirit of God to dwell within the believers. The Holy Spirit that teaches us (John 14:26), helps us in our weakness (Romans 8:26), and empowers us to do God’s will (John 14:15-16) and produce good spiritual fruit (Galatians 5:22-23).
Yes, this same Holy Spirit dwells in believers today. If you are a true follower of Jesus, these promises of the Holy Spirit are for you just like they were for the disciples long ago. Believe it and act accordingly.
In the days, weeks and years that followed the awesome commotion of Jesus Christ on earth these men became bold and courageously preached the gospel, evangelized the nations and changed history forever. They did not take a season off, they did not let up; they followed hard after Christ giving everything they had in full surrender to his will. What a beautiful example for us today.
When Jesus died on the cross and rose again, it was a decisive victory over death and over our Enemy. However, it is not the ending, it is the means to a beautiful beginning. We need to be more intentional than ever before in maturing in our knowledge of Christ and growing the Kingdom of God, we should never let up in this area. I enCOURAGE you to not lay back and relax spiritually after celebrating Easter, but to dig in and seek Christ with renewed passion this season and always.