May 24, 2019

Continuing the Work

Acts 1:1-8

“You will be my witnesses...”

—  Acts 1:8

When Jesus ascended into heaven, his work here on earth had only just begun.

The book of Acts records the story of the early church. But as a companion volume to the gospel of Luke (compare Luke 1:3-4 with Acts 1:1-2), Acts tells the story of what it means to be a follower of Jesus after the ascension. And it opens with a surprising detail: the “former book”—that is, the gospel of Luke—tells us only what Jesus began to do and teach.

So what happened after the ascension? Well, the book of Acts shows that Jesus’ followers went on doing and teaching the things Jesus did and taught. Or, rather, Jesus went on doing and teaching these things by working through his disciples.

What an amazing outcome! Jesus did not leave his followers alone. He continued to use his power working through them to teach, forgive, restore, and heal. And he did all this through the Holy Spirit even when his disciples didn’t fully understand what the kingdom was all about.

This should humble us, for God’s kingdom is not something we can arrange into existence. And this should encourage and excite us, since it means that Jesus continues to work through us even today, to be witnesses of his love, justice, and mercy.

Watch today for Jesus’ continuing work in and around you.

Lord Jesus, thank you for the work you are doing on this earth. Thank you that your work continues as you reign in heaven. Equip us as your witnesses, to the Father’s glory. Amen.

About the author — Joel Vande Werken

Joel Vande Werken has been a pastor since 2007, serving churches in Sussex, New Jersey, and in Whitinsville, Massachusetts. He and his wife, Brandie, have five young children.

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