Summary: Between the Resurrection and the Ascension Jesus shared about three things - The end times, the Holy Spirit and our purpose.
“After Easter Experience”
May 4, 2014
In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach 2 until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. 3 After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
6 Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”
7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.
10 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”
12 Then the apostles returned to Jerusalem from the hill called the Mount of Olives, a Sabbath day’s walk from the city. 13 When they arrived, they went upstairs to the room where they were staying. Those present were Peter, John, James and Andrew; Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew; James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. 14 They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.”
If you were here last week you will recognize that this is the Scripture we used for the background on the message on what the disciples were doing after Easter. You remember that we said they 1. Walked in Joy; 2. Walked in Obedience; and 3. Walked in service. Today I want to take that same Scripture and change the focus just a little bit.
Imagine how it must have been at that time. Last week we talked about the emotional roller coaster ride the Apostles must have been on. Palm Sunday, The Last Supper, the Friday crucifixion, and then Resurrection Sunday. From the heights of euphoria to the depths of depression – what an emotional swing. But now Jesus was back. He was resurrected from the dead. Imagine spending 40 days with Jesus. This Scripture says He did stuff with them. He ate with them! He presented Himself to them! He convinced them that He was alive with many convincing proofs. He taught them things! Wouldn’t you have loved to be in one of His classes? He spoke to them about the Kingdom of God. He instructed them through the Holy Spirit. I wonder what that was like. He also taught them -Himself.
I wonder if they all sat down on a hill side like they did on the Sermon on the Mount, and listened to Jesus explain things. He knew He was going away soon – so He was giving them His final personal instructions. Maybe it was kind of like a picnic – because they were eating at times. Maybe it was like the times He fed the people with fish and bread. Jesus ate with them. That was important because some people could say it was His ghost or spirit that they saw. But He ATE with them! He was REAL! He was human! It was a ‘bodily resurrection’. Jesus had indeed conquered death!
There were three subjects that Jesus talked about after His resurrection and just before His ascension to Heaven that we know about. There may have been many more, but there are three areas of teaching I want to look at a little closer this morning. He spoke of the end times; the Holy Spirit; and our purpose.
First, let’s look at what Jesus taught us about the end times. This was a subject that was much on the first century Christians minds. It is much on our minds in this day and age, too. It seems we are living out the prophecies of the end times. We know so little about it and there is a lot of contradictory speculation out there. But there are a few things we know about it -because Jesus told us. We need to focus on those things.