The beginning of Luke’s second letter to Theophilus links back to his first letter to him by revisiting some previously written about details (like the two men in white clothes, Acts 1:10/Luke 24:4), in order to keep the flow of thought continuous and familiar. Luke starts part 2 by reiterating that the “first narrative” was “about all that Jesus began to do and teach until the day He was taken up.” (Acts 1:1, HCSB) He then picks up right where he had left off, reminding the reader about the mindset of the apostles… that they still where not really getting it, and that they where still looking for some great and triumphant military like restoration of Israel (Acts 1:6/Luke 21:5-7). But, that’s not what our Lord had in mind. Instead, the coming kingdom was about a change of heart and a giving of one’s believing loyalty to God through repentance and faith in the risen Savior, Jesus Christ. And, that the power that they were about to receive was the authority to be commissioned to share about that coming kingdom through the Gospel. (Acts 1:8)
Love and a Spirit of Gentleness
It is sometimes tempting to have the same thinking as the infant apostles, that a political upheaval or just a good old military insurrection will make things right. The thing is though, until we start to realize that it is the sharing of the Good News (while demonstrating love and a spirit of gentleness) which grows the kingdom of God… we won’t really be contributing to its growth (1 Corinthians 4:20-21).
What is the kingdom of God?
Romans 14:17 (HCSB)
…for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.
Luke 17:20-21 (HCSB)
Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God will come, He answered them, “The kingdom of God is not coming with something observable; no one will say, ‘Look here!’ or ‘There!’ For you see, the kingdom of God is among you.”
Mark 4:26-32 (HCSB)
“The kingdom of God is like this,” He said. “A man scatters seed on the ground; he sleeps and rises — night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows — he doesn’t know how. The soil produces a crop by itself — first the blade, then the head, and then the ripe grain on the head. But as soon as the crop is ready, he sends for the sickle, because the harvest has come.” And He said: “How can we illustrate the kingdom of God, or what parable can we use to describe it? It’s like a mustard seed that, when sown in the soil, is smaller than all the seeds on the ground. And when sown, it comes up and grows taller than all the vegetables, and produces large branches, so that the birds of the sky can nest in its shade.”
Work to be Done
As the two men in white robes had said to the group gathered who had watched Jesus ascend into the sky…
“Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up into heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come in the same way that you have seen Him going into heaven.” – (Acts 1:11, HCSB)
…the same goes for us. We can’t just stand around looking to heaven. There’s work to be done, because Jesus is going to come back in the same manner that He had first come… and it won’t be to heal.
Godspeed, to the brethren!