Summary: The Kingdom of God from Acts 1
Acts 1:1-2, “1Dear Theophilus:In my first book I told you about everything Jesus began to do and teach 2until the day he ascended to heaven after giving his chosen apostles further instructions from the Holy Spirit.”
Luke here is reiterating everything he already said in Luke. It has been said of Acts that it is merely a continuation of the Gospel Luke which is true. These first eleven verses that we will today examine are a continuation of the end of the Gospel of Luke; however it is just another look, a final look at how Jesus empowered the Apostles and us to be His witnesses, to walk by faith so that the world would see our faith and know whom we belong to. More than likely Theophilus was a famous early Christian at this time, although we have not been able to find evidence of this man, the reasoning behind this is very simple. In the times when Acts was written a round 66 AD, it was common practice in order for literature to have a high distribution for it to be addressed to a famous person. This is Luke’s reasoning perhaps but once again we are not exactly certain to who Theophilus and what he was famous for all we are working on here is simply from the other precedents of this usage of address from which Luke here uses.
Acts is a very important book for us for many reasons. Throughout our study of Acts we will begin to see clearly the Spirit’s movement during this time. Its not hard to see it anyway but we will gain more of a historical perspective but also proper application of how to live Acts. We will also examine many issues such as church leadership, discipline, witnessing, evangelism, and lots of other issues as well.
Acts 1:3, “3During the forty days after his crucifixion, he appeared to the apostles from time to time and proved to them in many ways that he was actually alive. On these occasions he talked to them about the Kingdom of God.”
Here we encounter a very important theological theme throughout the New Testament. This theme of course would be the Kingdom of God, or the reign of God as it is also known. It carries with it heavy theological significance for us as believers. For the Jews, they expected Jesus to return and set up His earthly Kingdom now when He came to die on the Cross. They did not expect a Savior, but a King. Some have suggested that during these forty days of appearing to the disciples were to teach them secret truth about Himself, but Luke takes out that when he then directs us back to the Kingdom of God. For Jesus the Kingdom of God was both a present and a future reality. It was present in the sense that those who believed in Him and what He did on the Cross would have eternal life. It was also future in the sense that Jesus would be coming back to establish His earthly millennial Kingdom reign. Being that the Apostles were Jewish though the reality was that the Kingdom of God for them was only present. They only thought in terms of Jesus establishing His kingdom now. So here we see the importance for the Apostles and for us as well. Some would like to say that the Kingdom is coming near and Jesus will return. We can view the signs of the times, but none of us know for certain when it will happen.
The Apostles needed strength to fulfill their mission. Jesus appearing to them was significant in the fact that it changed every single Apostle from being fearful and doubting to courageous and willing. You see every believer must come to an end of themselves, being utterly broken before they can be truly used of by the Lord. A broken believer is far more deadly to Satan’s satanic world order here on earth than any weapon, than any nuclear submarine, or the entire armies of the world combined! A believer in Jesus carries the full responsibility to faithfully preach God’s Word through witnessing to others in both the Word and in deed. This is the whole entire point of the forty days that Jesus appearing to the Apostles. Jesus wanted them to live courageously because He knew they knew intellectual and even emotionally who He was, but the truth of who He was had not yet pierced there hearts. This again would show us the need for brokenness. It is in brokenness that we most often truly understand the truth we believe in, for it forms within us a great yearning to be, to serve and to know God’s Word.
Acts 1:4-5, “4In one of these meetings as he was eating a meal with them, he told them, "Do not leave Jerusalem until the Father sends you what he promised. Remember, I have told you about this before. 5John baptized with water, but in just a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit."