Jesus’ task was completed. He said so: “It is finished,” and “He bowed His head and gave up His spirit” (John 19:30). The body was taken down and buried. What else could they think? Then came that unbelievable morning at the tomb when the body was nowhere to be found and the slow realization that Jesus had indeed risen from the dead, “just as He said” (Matthew 28:6).
Disbelief turned to joy when Jesus came to them, and “He showed them His hands and feet … and ate [a piece of broiled fish] in their presence” (Luke 24:40-43). Just as before, He taught them. He told them again what He had told them before, but now “He opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures” (Luke 24:45). The disciples must have listened with new ears as they took in all Jesus told them in those days following His miraculous Resurrection.
Then Jesus took them to a remote area, blessed them, and “was taken up into Heaven” (Luke 24:51) before their eyes. Joyfully they went back home and waited – waited for the gift Jesus had promised would come to them. One day with wind and fire the Holy Spirit came, bringing power and authority to those folks Jesus had commissioned to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything He had commanded them.” And He added His promise, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20).
The book of Acts tells the story of what happened as those disciples, armed with Jesus’ promise to be with them, started in their own community and then branched out into all nations, preaching and teaching, baptizing and discipling others, performing miracles in Jesus’ name, facing persecution and death for the sake of the Gospel.
The book of Acts ends after 28 chapters, but the work is not over. The story goes on through the lives and witness of the thousands of Christians who have picked up the task where the first disciples left off. Our story may never be written down for other Christians to read, but those around us are seeing it unfold. They are hearing us speak the Gospel message; they are recipients of the good deeds we do in the Lord’s name; we equip other workers of the Good News through our prayer and financial support; they take notice of the stand we take in defense of Truth over the lies with which Satan would blind our world. No, it’s not over!
We celebrate Pentecost (May 20) with “Faith in Action” where we don’t just go to church to be refueled in God’s grace. On this day we leave empowered to be the church and serve in Jesus’ name. Sign up and be part of this community movement! We have the privilege, we get the opportunity of carrying on Jesus’ work until He comes again to take us to Himself, saying, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” (Matthew 25:21) Indeed, it’s not over!