Summary: Our Faith has roots that go back to the beginning: we are connected.
Jerusalem Jews for Jesus, Part One
(Acts 1:1-8, part one)
1. Sometimes we do not know as much aobut people as we think.
2. A true story from Reader’s Digest:
Recently my girlfriend, Karen, got a job at a local hardware store. "The owners don’t want us hanging out with our friends," she said. "If you stop by, tell them you’re my brother."
On my first visit, I walked to the customer service desk and asked the older woman there, "Is Karen around?" When she looked at me quizzically, I added, "I’m her brother."
She smiled. "What a nice surprise. I’m Karen’s mother."
3. You would think that a couple dating would have met one another’s parents. Knowing ones family and friends contributes toward knowing the person in particular.
4. Luke, the author of the Gospel that bears his name and the Book of Acts, knew many of the early leaders in the church. He wanted to learn everything He could about the Lord Jesus Christ and how Jesus was working in the church. He was qualified to write the two books he penned.
5. "By counting the pages written by Luke in both his Gospel and Acts, it is clear that Luke wrote more pages of the New Testament than any other writer, including Paul and John."
Thomas McCall www.levitt.com/essays/luke.html
6. Luke’s Gospel: What Jesus began to do while on earth.
Acts: What Jesus continued to do through His Apostles and the Holy Spirit.
7. The book begins with the Ascension of Christ in either 30 or 33 A.D., and ends with Paul being under house arrest in 61 A.D. or so. Thus we can date the book to 61A.D.
8. Since we are trying to do a thorough study of the texts we will cover, we will look at Chapters 1-7 in this series; they highlight the very earliest believers in Jesus: Jerusalem Jews.
9. I do not intend to cover this entire text in detail today, but I want us to look over the same texts two weeks in a row so we can see how they are connected. Today, I’ll focus on vs. 1-5 and lightly touch 6-8. Next week, I’ll do the reverse.
Main Idea: Our Faith has roots that go back to the beginning: we are connected.
I. The Church: Connected to Jesus Through the APOSTLES’ Teaching (1-3)
A. By READING what Jesus’ did (1-2a)
1. Note the Biblical use of the word "all" here in Acts 1:1
"I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach."
Contrast this to John’s statement in John 21:25, "Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written."
A good interpreter does not view Scripture as a legal document, nor does he focus upon absolute meanings of words; instead, he observes how tightly or loosely the human authors use their words because he realizes that we use many figures of speech without even realizing it. In both instances here, the figure called hyperbole or amplificatio.
It is like saying, "Everybody around here eats hamburgers."
2. Until He went to heaven
Jesus is still active in leading the church. In Revelation, He is seen as walking among the churches. He is declared to be "Head of the Church," so the job of our elders is to discern what He wants done so He can truly lead our flock.
The same is true of us individually. Jesus is meant to be our Lord, so we should seek to understand the direction He has for us. Often, that direction is simply the path of wisdom. But not always.
B. By the TESTIMONY and ministry of the Apostles (2b-3)
1. The Apostles were APPOINTED by Jesus Himself
2. The Apostles were FOUNDATION layers
3. The Apostles were WITNESSES to the resurrection
The idea of 40 days is significant.
It contrasts to the alleged 40-day warning the Jews gave of Christ’s death in the Talmud:
On the eve of the Passover Yeshu was hanged. For forty days before the execution took place, a herald went forth and cried, ’He is going forth to be stoned because he has practiced sorcery and enticed Israel to apostasy. Any one who can say anything in his favor, let him come forward and plead on his behalf.’ But since nothing was brought forward in his favor he was hanged on the eve of the Passover! — Ulla retorted: ’Do you suppose that he was one for whom a defense could be made? Was he not a Mesith [enticer], concerning whom Scripture says, Neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him? With Yeshu however it was different, for he was connected with the government [or royalty, i.e., influential].’