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Jesus - a blended Gospel - Postscript, Acts 1 and 2
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Chapter one and two of the Acts of the Apostles


You have read a detailed report on all of Jesus' life and teaching to the time when he ascended. Before that, through the Holy Spirit, he had instructed the apostles he had chosen. During a period of forty days after his agony he showed himself to them many times, obviously alive, and talked to them about the kingdom.

On one occasion, while they were eating, he gave them specific instructions not to leave Jerusalem but to wait in the ciyt until the Father's promise had been kept: "The promise you recieved through me," he said. "John bapitzed with water but in a few day you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit."

On another occasion when they were together, the apostles questioned him.

"Lord," they said, "do you intend to restore Israel as a kingdom at this time?"

"You are not going to be told when or under what circumstances that will happen," he told them. "That has been decided by the Father on his own authority. But when the Holy Spirit comes he will give you the power you need to be witnesses for me in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria and beyond, to the most distant part of the world."

Then as they watched he rose in the air, disappeared in a cloud, and was lost to sight. They were still looking upward when they realized they had been joined by two men dressed in white.

"Why do you stand gazing into the sky, Galileans?" one of them asked. "He'll be back, and when he returns it will be very much as you have seen him leave."

From the Mount of Olives they walked approximately half a mile back to Jerusalem and went to an upstairs room where they were staying. Present at the time were the following: the apostles Peter, John, James, Andrew, Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew, James (Alphaeus' son), Simon the Zealot, and Judas (James' son). Also present were Jesus' brothers and a number of women including Jesus' mother, Mary. Together, they gave themselves to prayer.

One day Peter rose and addressed the group - there were about 120 present at the time.

"Brothers," he said "the scriptures had to be fulfilled. Long ago, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, King David made a prediction. It concerned Judas who, as you know, acted as a guide to those who arrested Jesus. Judas was one of us and had been given a share in this ministry of ours." (With the money paid him for his treachery he bought a field. Falling headlong, his stomach was ruptured and his intestines spilled out. The place became known in Jerusalem as "The field of blood.") "You may read David's prediction in the book of Psalms:

Let the place where he lives
Become a desolate place
Let no one live there
And let another take his office

Consequently, we must add a man to our group, a man who has been with us through the entire time we were with the Lord - from the time he was baptized by John through to the ascension - a man who will add his testimony to ours concerning the resurrection."

Two names were proposed: Joseph Justus (Known as Barsabbas) and Matthias.

The assembly prayed: "Lord, you know all that is in the hearts of men. Show us which of these two you have chosen to replace Judas in this apostolic ministry - Judas having gone astray to where he belongs.'

They cast lots. Matthias was chosen and was enrolled with the eleven apostles.

On the day of Pentecost11 the group was together. Sudenly, there was sound from above like the roar of a hurricane. It flooded the house in which they were seated, and they saw what appeared to be tongues of flame come to rest on each of them. The Holy Spirit filled each of them and they began to speak in other languages, the words being given to them by the Holy Spirit.

There were in Jerusalem at the time a number of pious Jews from all parts of the world. When they head the sound, a crowd gathered, bewildered because each heard the apostles speaking in his native tongue.

"Aren't all these people Galileans?" they said in astonishment. "Then how is that each of us hears them in his own language? We're Parthians, Medes, and Elamites. Some of us are from Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus, and Asia. There are men here from Phrygia and Pamphilia, from Egypt and from those parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene. Ther are even visitors here from Rome - Jews and converts to Judaism - as well as from Crete and Arabia. Yet we all hear them talking about God's might in our own language!"

They looked at each other, puzzled. "What does this mean?" they asked.

"We'll tell you what it means," others said scornfully.

"They're drunk."

Peter stood up in the midst of the apostles.

"Judeans. people of Jerusalem,"he said. "Give me your attentaion and let me explain. These men are not, as you may think, drunk - it is only nine in the morning. What's happening here is what was predicated by the prophet Joel:

Thus says God:
" I will pour out my spirit in the final days,
pour it out on all mankind.
Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy.
Your young men shall see visions.
Your Old men shall dream dreams.
On my servants, men and maidens,
I shall pour out my Spirit in those days
And they too shall prophesy.
I will show marvels in the sky
And sings on the earth . . .
Blood, fire, and smoking mist.
The sun shall grow dark,
The moon will turn to blood
Before the Day of the Lord comes . . .
That great and notable Days of the Lord.
Then shall it be
That he who calls on the name of the Lord
Shall be saved."

"Hear me now, men of Israel," Peter continued. " I speak of Jesus of Nazareth, a man commended to you by God through the many great deeds God enables him to perform. He did many wonders and made many signs among you, as you well know. And, despite the fact that he was delivered up according to God's specific plan and with his foreknowledge, it was you who crucified him, you who killed him through men who do not live by our Law. But God has raised him! God has set him free of the painful bonds of death, it being impossible for death to hold him. Here's what David says of him:

There, within my sight,
Always before my eyes . . .
The Lord.
Here, at my right hand . . .
The Lord.
That I may not be shaken.
So my heart was glad
And my tongue rejoiced.
And more; my body lives in hope.
For you will not abandon my soul to Hades.
Nor let decay touch the Holy One.
you have shown me the ways of life
And I shall be filled with gladness
In your presence.

Brothers, I say this to you in absolute confidence: The patriarch David is dead and buried and his tomb is still with us. But David was a prophet to whom God had sworn an oath, an oath that he would some day set one of David's descendants on David's throne. David foresaw and predicted the resurrection of Christ. He foresaw that he would not be abandoned to Hades. He foresaw that his body would not suffer decay. And now God has done it! He has raised this Jesus and we are all witnesses to that fact. And Jesus - having been elevated to God's right hand having received from the Father, as was promised, the Holy Spirit - has poured out what you see here. David did not himself ascend to heaven. Indeed, as he says:

The Lord said to my Lord,
Sit here at my right
Until I make of your enemies
A footstool.

"Therefore, let every member of House of Israel know beyond and shadow of doubt that God has made this Jesus you crucified both Lord and Christ!"

His sermon had thrust to the hearts of his listeners. They turned to Peter and the other apostles. "Brothers," they said, "tell us what to do."

"Repent," Peter said. "Let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven, and You'll be given the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promised Holy Spirit is for you, too, and for your children and for other far away. Indeed, the promise is for anyone called by the Lord our God."

Peter continued to speak to them at length. "Save yourselves from this twisted generation," he urged.

Some three thousand men and women heeded his plea and were baptized and added to the group. They devoted themselves constantly to the apostles' instructions and fellowship, to the observance of the Lord's supper, and to prayer. They all lived with a sense of awe. The apostles did may extraordinary and miraculous things. There was a unity to the group. They shared what they had. They sold what valuables they owned and helped any of their number who were in need. They went to the temple together day by day and observed the Lord's supper in their homes. Happily they ate and generously they shared. They praised God and the people praised them.

And the Lord increased their number daily as others were saved.

(11)  Fifty day after the Passover.

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