Summary: Three Things the Early Church Did following the Resurrection

“The Week After Easter”

April 27, 2014

Acts 1:1-14

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[a] water, but in a few days you will be baptized with[b] 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[c] 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.”

It was a week after Resurrection Day and what an emotional rollercoaster ride the disciples had been on. Two weeks prior to this they were wildly cheering as Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. The people were paving His way with palm branches and their coats as they made a royal road for Jesus. They were celebrating what they thought was Jesus’ Coronation as King. Many thought that Jesus was setting Himself up as the conquering King – at least that was what they hoped for. What an enthusiastic high that must have been. They must have laughed and shouted in glee and loudly celebrated that week.

The celebration took on a somber note that evening at the Seder meal that came to be known as “The Last Supper’. Jesus took the bread and said, “This is my body.” He took the wine and said, “This is my blood”. Eat and drink in remembrance of me.

That was a strange thing to say. He was right there with them. Then He said something that must have really caused them to wonder what was going on. He told them that His betrayer was sitting right there with them.

Can you imagine their bewilderment; their doubt; their guilt? They all began to ask, “Is it me? Is it me? Am ‘I’ the betrayer? (Matthew 26:21) They knew that all of us have the seed of betrayal with in us. We all have that root of sin buried deep within our heart. We all are capable of rebellion, deceit, and betrayal. Horrified they began to anxiously wonder if it was them that would be the weak link. Surprisingly, it was the ones with the most power and seemed the strongest that would betray and desert Jesus. Judas, who had responsibility for and was in control of the groups finances and Peter who so loudly and vehemently declared that he would never desert Jesus - actually did. But all would be scattered like frightened school girls before the week was out.

First there was the joy of Palm Sunday, with the comfortable love of the Last Supper and the frightened fear of failure. But whenever you have an emotional high – you can be sure a corresponding low will soon follow. I have learned not to allow myself to get too giddy with excitement because there will be a corresponding low to follow. It is better to stay more on an even keel, I think. Because before the week was out – the horror of the Friday crucifixion would set them back and they would experience a low such as they never felt when Jesus was with them. They shut themselves behind locked doors and hid themselves away in fear for their lives. What defeat! What sorrow they must have felt.

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