Imagine you’re on an enormous cruise ship filled with thousands of people ready to depart on a trip across the Atlantic Ocean from New York to the UK. Now imagine your mom knows the ship’s captain and has arranged for him to give you a private tour before the ship departs. Because you have a special mechanical interest, the tour will be of the engine room – you want to see what makes the ship work. When the tour is over, the captain disappears up an elevator on his way to the bridge and you return to the deck of the ship to watch as it pulls away from the dock. As the massive floating city makes its way out of the channel, you rest assured that the captain, with whom you have a personal relationship, is in control and will safely guide the ship to its destination.
Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came to earth to show and teach us how His kingdom will come about. His ministry was a complete tour of the engine room. He showed us how things work. His death on the cross as payment for our sin, and subsequent resurrection from the dead, established Him as king of God’s restored kingdom, which is to come upon His return. For now, Jesus has ascended into heaven to sit at the right hand of God; just like the captain who went to the bridge to guide the cruise ship across the ocean. Jesus is now guiding His followers from His position next to God. Those followers are connected to Him through the working of the Holy Spirit inside every believer.
Luke, the author of the Gospel of Luke, was a close companion and fellow worker with the Apostle Paul. After he finished his gospel account, he continued writing the history of the first 30 years of the Christian church in the Book of Acts. Luke addressed both books to someone named Theophilus; and while there is no record of exactly who Theophilus was, we do know that it is a Greek word meaning “loved by god.”
“In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen.” Acts 1:1-2 (NIV)
When you read the Gospel of Luke or any of the other three gospels, you quickly discover Jesus was not simply a preacher of words – He was a man of action. Luke tells us he wrote about all that Jesus began to “do and teach” and now in the book of Acts he tells us how Jesus continues to operate from heaven by empowering all his followers with the Holy Spirit.
“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.” Acts 1:8 (NIV)
As followers of Jesus, we are to “do and teach” in the same manner that He demonstrated throughout His ministry here on earth. We are to be “witnesses” to his death and resurrection. Jesus conquered death! Jesus is not a past tense teacher – He is alive and in control. And we are to spend our time serving others as He did every day of His life here on earth.
Like the enormous cruise ship, we are traveling across a vast ocean to another world known as the Kingdom of God. When we arrive, Jesus will be our king and all will be well. Until that day, we are to trust that Jesus is in control and follow his continued direction via the nudging of the Holy Spirit. We are not supposed to stand around waiting for Jesus – we are to take action on His behalf and complete His mission to spread the gospel to the world through word and more importantly, deed.
“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.” Acts 1:11 (NIV)
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