1 In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach
2 until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen.
3 After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.
4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.
5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
6 So when they met together, they asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”
7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.
8 But 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.”
The first eight verses of Acts are loaded.
Jesus was crucified, resurrected, then appeared to (at least) a few hundred people convincing them He really was alive. In the days following, He continued teaching about the Kingdom of God, and shortly before His final ascension into heaven instructed the disciples to stay in Jerusalem until “the gift my Father promised” – the Holy Spirit – came upon them.
It was at this point that the disciples wanted to have a theological discussion about the restoration of Israel … they still didn’t get it.
They asked when Israel would be fully restored, and Jesus responds to their question with something like this: “Stop worrying about that – the Father will take care of it! After you receive the Holy Spirit, your job will be to serve as my witnesses all over the world … THAT is what you need to be concerned with!”
And if you read further into Acts, you learn that they listened.
In the very next chapter of the book 3,000 gave their lives to Jesus. A couple of chapters later, 5,000. By the end, all of Jerusalem, Samaria, and the surrounding areas had heard about Jesus, and thousands upon thousands had committed to following Him.
Jesus called the disciples to serve as His witnesses. This wasn’t a command just for the Twelve Apostles – it was then, and is today, for all disciples of Jesus.
Witness. Share with others what you’ve seen and experienced in Christ. Share with others what Jesus is all about. As they say in our beloved black churches – TESTIFY!
That was the disciples’ mission then – it’s the disciples’ mission today.
Less theological banter regarding non-essentials, more mission.