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Jesus Taken Up Into Heaven April 4, 2016

Posted by flashbuzzer in Books, Christianity.
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I’ve recently started reading through the Acts of the Apostles with the aid of a commentary by John Calvin. I should note that I’ve previously read through Acts. As in my recent stroll through the book of Revelation, I hope to comprehend Acts as a whole. I also hope to be inspired to engage in the mission of the New Testament church: preach the Gospel to all nations.

I plan to blog about this experience as I read through both this book and Calvin’s commentary. Each post will correspond to a specific section in the NIV translation.

For starters, here are my thoughts on Acts 1:1-11.

Summary: In this passage, Luke begins with a concise description of his previous book. He then mentions some of the events that occurred after the resurrection of Jesus; in particular, Jesus reinforced His prior teachings to His apostles. Although they still viewed Him as their political Messiah, He asserted that He was their spiritual Messiah. In light of this great truth, He commissioned them – through the power of the Holy Spirit – to proclaim His true Person and deeds throughout the world. After this, He ascended to heaven; two angels then promised them that He would return someday.

Thoughts: As I am a history buff, I have always enjoyed reading through Acts. In particular, this book features a plethora of fascinating personalities who play critical roles in the growth of the New Testament church – in spite of fierce opposition and internal struggles. For this stroll, though, I hope to gain a greater appreciation for the work of the Holy Spirit throughout this book – especially as the same Holy Spirit works in all believers today. While God does not guarantee that we will bear the same fruit that the apostles bore in the early church, I pray that I would be inspired to match them in terms of their faithfulness. I am certainly curious as to how God will lead me in that regard during this stroll.

In verse 6, we see that the apostles still viewed Jesus as their political Messiah. Calvin offers some intriguing thoughts on this point:

Their stupidity is incredible. They had been carefully taught for three whole years, yet were as ignorant as if they had never heard a thing!

My opinion is that Calvin’s thoughts are a bit harsh. In particular, I believe that if I had been in the apostles’ position, I would have also failed to grasp the meaning of Jesus’ teaching regarding His identity as their spiritual Messiah. The disciples had been taught – from a young age – that the Old Testament predicted the arrival of a political Messiah; thus, it would have been difficult for three years of intense instruction from Jesus to overcome the biases that they had developed at a young age. While hindsight is always 20/20, in this passage it is evident that the apostles were still struggling to comprehend the wondrous sequence of events that began with Jesus’ death on the cross. It would take another miracle – Pentecost – for them to truly comprehend His teachings.

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