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Bible Commentaries

Wells of Living Water Commentary
Acts 1

 

 

Other Authors
Verses 1-3

Alive After His Passion

Acts 1:1-3 ; Mark 16:9-14

INTRODUCTORY WORDS

After the last cry which Christ uttered upon the Cross, and the commending of His Spirit unto the Father, the body of our Lord was laid in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathaea. After the burial was over the sepulcher was made sure by the sealing of the stone and the setting of a watch.

Three dark days followed days filled with doubts and despair. In the end of the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to the sepulcher, while it was yet dark, and found the stone rolled away from the sepulcher.

The first effect of the empty tomb was that of disappointment. The women thought that some one had taken away their Lord, and they knew not where they had laid Him.

To us one of the most beautiful statements of the Bible is found in the third verse of the first chapter of Acts.

"To whom also He showed Himself alive after His passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the Kingdom of God."

Those forty days were momentous and memorable. They established the fact of the resurrection on the one hand; and they imparted to the disciples much, by way of needed instruction, on the other hand.

It was not only that the Lord was raised, but that He showed Himself alive that grips our attention. It is the purpose of this study to endeavor, step by step, to enter in to those hallowed appearances and fellowships which followed the resurrection, as time by time, the Lord manifested Himself to His people.

Let it be remembered, as we proceed, that never to the world did the Lord show Himself. He reserved the glory of His presence and the effulgence of His Person to those who knew and loved Him.

Many of the messages of Christ's public teachings during His earth life are given us in part or in full in the Gospels, but little, however, is told us of the words which He spoke unto them after His resurrection.

May our hearts burn within us by the way as we seek to enter in to those wondrous hours of personal privilege and fellowship which the Lord granted to His own.

I. HE APPEARED FIRST UNTO MARY MAGDALENE (Mark 16:9 )

Mary Magdalene had gone to the tomb, along with Mary the mother of James and Salome, to carry sweet spices that they might anoint their beloved Lord. They came in the morning of that memorable first day of the week, arriving at the sepulcher at the rising of the sun.

They had been inquiring among themselves, "Who shall roll us away the stone?" When they looked, however, they saw the stone rolled away and a young man sitting on the right side thereof. This angelic personage quieted their fears by announcing that Jesus was risen.

Mary Magdalene turned back, weeping, and she saw Jesus standing; but knew not that it was Jesus, "Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou?"

Mary, supposing Christ to be the gardener, said unto him, "Sir, if Thou have borne Him hence, tell me where Thou hast laid Him, and I will take Him away." "Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto Him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master. Jesus saith unto her, Touch Me not; for I am not yet ascended to My Father: but go to My brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto My Father, and your Father; and to My God, and your God."

It will be impossible to emphasize all which is now before us. Let us therefore consider the significance of Christ's words to Mary.

1. "Woman, why weepest thou?" The Lord Jesus asked her this in view of His empty, and not His occupied tomb. The words carry much weight. We would like to ask every one why they should weep at any tomb when God, in Christ, has given us both the Resurrection and the Life.

2. "Whom seekest thou?" Mary was seeking a dead Man, not a living Master. We wonder why so many still linger around the tomb of some loved one, when that loved one is with the Lord. We know the body was endeared, and yet that body is destined to be changed into His resurrection likeness. One thing we know that we need no longer to seek Christ in the lone and far distant tomb near Jerusalem. Our Lord was dead, but is alive forevermore.

3. "Mary." Just one word did Jesus now speak, and yet a word so full of significance. The Risen Lord still knoweth His "sheep," and He calleth them by name. The Risen Lord is still speaking unto us with tenderest solicitude. The Risen Lord is still thinking of us, and is ever ready to manifest Himself unto those who are His very own.

4. "Touch Me not; for I am not yet ascended to My Father." It may be that, between this moment and the few moments later, when Christ spoke to the women who had been with Mary, He did ascend to the Father presenting the Blood of a perfect offering.

5. "Go to My brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto My Father, and your Father; and to My God, and your God."

These words were in fulfilment of the twenty-second Psalm, where the sobs and sighs of Calvary that had run through twenty-one verses, changed suddenly to this resurrection pledge, "I will declare Thy Name unto My brethren." It is by virtue of Christ's death and resurrection that we hold toward Him the relationship of "brethren"; and with Him, toward God, the relationship of "sons."

II. HE APPEARED ALSO TO THE OTHER WOMEN (Matthew 28:9 )

We may be surprised that the first two appearances of our Lord were to women. However, we must remember that it was the women who loved Him, and not the men who had walked with Him, who were last at the Cross and first at the tomb. Christ thus honored the faithfulness of the few who had first sought His grave.

The women had come "while it was yet dark" to the sepulcher; they had found the stone rolled back from the door. The women had seen the angels sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.

It was as these women, in obedience to the command of the angels, were hastening to tell the disciples that Christ was risen from the dead, that Jesus met them. Let us now read our key verse: "And as they went to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail."

The first spoken words to the women, were but two: "All Hail," that is, "All Joy." Indeed it was joy a joy unspeakable and full of glory that Christ was risen indeed.

The angel, at the birth of Christ, announced to the shepherds, "Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy." The Lord Himself, following His resurrection, said to the women, "All [joy]." The message of the angels was joy to all people ; the message of Christ was all joy, to a special people.

The resurrection of Christ, to the saint, is radiant with glory and full of joy it is a resurrection which speaks to them of their own resurrection unto life.

The resurrection of Christ to the wicked is a resurrection of condemnation it speaks to them of the resurrection of their own bodies unto damnation.

Permit us to sum up the three statements of Christ in this first appearance:

1. "All [joy]."

2. "Be not afraid."

3. "Go tell My brethren * * there shall they see Me."

III. HE APPEARED UNTO TWO DISCIPLES ON THE EMMAUS ROAD (Luke 24:13-17 . Compare Mark 16:12 )

Three days after the crucifixion, two disciples were en route to Emmaus. As they went along the way they were sad. A seeming Stranger approached and journeyed with them. He asked them what manner of communications they had one with another, as they walked, and were sad. The two answered Him with astonishment, saying, "Art Thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days?" Jesus said unto them, "What things?" They replied, "Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a Prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people." Then they told their newly arrived Companion, who to them appeared a stranger, how Christ had been condemned to death, and had been crucified, and how they had thought that it would have been. He who would have redeemed Israel. They even told Him that certain women had astonished them by saying that Christ was alive.

As they walked along the way Christ said unto them, "O fools, and slow of heart to believe ail that the Prophets have spoken: ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into His glory?" Then, beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.

As they approached the village Christ made as though He would have gone further; but they constrained Him, and He went in to tarry with them. As they sat at meat, He took the bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them; even as He doubtless had done when He established the Lord's Supper. Immediately their eyes were opened, and they knew Him; and He vanished out of their sight.

Then said the disciples, "Did not our heart burn within us, while He talked with us by the way, and while He opened to us the Scriptures?"

IV. HE APPEARED UNTO THE ELEVEN (Mark 16:14 . Compare Luke 24:36-45 )

When Christ had disappeared from the group in Emmaus, "They rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem." There they found the Eleven gathered together, and them that were with them. As they entered, the Jerusalem group were speaking of the marvelous events of the day, particularly of the fact that the Risen Lord had appeared to Simon.

The newcomers broke in with their wonderful tale, telling what had happened on the road to Emmaus, and how Christ had made Himself known unto them in the breaking of bread. As they marveled with joy unspeakable, suddenly, "Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you." This was more than their strained nerves could stand, and they were terrified and affrighted, supposing that they had seen a spirit.

The Lord Jesus quieted their troubled thoughts, and said, "Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself: handle Me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see Me have." Christ then showed them His hands and His feet.

The disciples could scarce believe for joy, and for wondering. Then Christ said, "Have ye here any meat? And they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. And He took it, and did eat before them."

Christ opened their understanding that they might understand the Scriptures. He said, "Thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day." Their minds, which had been beclouded, were now illumined. Hearts which had been grief-stricken, were now filled with joy.

V. HE APPEARED UNTO THOMAS (John 20:26-28 )

When Christ first appeared to the Eleven, we read, "But Thomas, * * was not with them when Jesus came." The disciples, however, told him that they had seen the Lord. Then said Thomas, "Except I shall see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails,, and thrust my hand into His side, I will not believe."

For eight days Thomas wandered in needless doubt and despair. He might have known, but he did not know. What a warning is given herein to each of us. After eight days, however, we read, "Then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in their midst, and said, Peace be unto you."

Having thus announced His presence and granted His peace, He turned to Thomas, saying, "Reach hither thy finger, and behold My hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into My side: and be not faithless, but believing."

No longer can we class Thomas as the "doubting disciple," for immediately he cried, "My Lord and my God."

AN ILLUSTRATION

How blessed and favored are we to have a living Christ who is "managing our affairs," and is a present help in time of trouble!

"Weary with toil, and care, I sat one evening musing until surrounding objects faded away, and other forms and scenes filled their place. There came one to me who gently bade me follow him. Together we moved on until we came to a long and narrow valley. In this valley were many travelers, each bearing a burden.

"'What place is this?' I asked of my guide.

"'It is the Valley of Burdens,' he said.

"We descended into the valley, and drew near to some of these travelers. I soon observed a great difference in the way these pilgrims bore their burdens. Some sighed and groaned at almost every step; others bore themselves manfully, or at least uncomplainingly. At last my eyes fell upon a burden of unusual size.

"'That man must have a hard time of it,' I said.

"'Draw nearer,' said my guide.

"I obeyed; and found that he was treading the ground with a firm and even elastic step, much as if he had no burden. He was singing a cheerful song; and his face was radiant with a tender, subdued, chastened joy. I expressed my surprise.

"'Draw nearer still,' said my guide.

"I did so, and saw that there was One, before invisible, who was walking by his side, and while the burden seemed to rest on the pilgrim's back, it was in reality borne by the strong hand of the One who was walking with him.

"'Speak to him,' said my guide.

"I went up to him, and said, 'My friend, I thought you the most heavily burdened of all; but now I see that you do not carry the burden. How is it that you are so favored?'

"'All might be equally favored if they would,' he said. 'When my burden was smaller I tried to carry it myself, and a sad time I had of it, Then the Friend who walks by my side, instead of making it lighter, added to its size and weight until I could bear it no longer, and gave it up to Him. It was in mercy and love that He made it so heavy, He would carry every burden in this valley, if those who bear them would only let Him do it.'

"After we left this man, I asked my guide if this was the gracious design of every burden.

"'It is,' he said; 'but many resist this gracious purpose. See that man yonder with a similar burden. He has fallen under it, bruised, crushed, nigh unto death.'

"'Has this man a friend by his side who is willing to take his burden?' I asked.

"'Yes; but the man will not give it up.'

'"What folly!' I exclaimed.

"My guide turned and gave me a glance which, somehow, reminded me of the words of the Prophet to David, 'Thou art the man!'

"Soon we saw another man with a very heavy burden. He seemed to be pleading with some one to bear it for him.

"'Is not that man asking his Friend to take his burden? I inquired.

"'He is.'

"'I understand you to say that He took every burden He was asked to take.'

"'Every lawful burden; but this man has no right to his burden. Nearly all of it has been gathered up where he has no right to go. It is made up of borrowed trouble, while the Lord of the valley has said, "Take no thought for the morrow."'"


Verses 1-11

Results of the Resurrection

Acts 1:1-11

INTRODUCTORY WORDS

1. If Christ had not been raised. When Jesus Christ lay-dead in the tomb, a darkness as dense as that which shrouded the earth in chaotic times, fell upon the disciples.

Had the Lord Jesus remained dead, the Church had never been born; the followers of the Saviour had never been re-invigorated; and the preaching of the Gospel had never been known.

With Christ in the tomb, we would have a Christ dishonored of men, disowned of God, and disrobed of His claims.

Had Christ never been raised, the world would have been left without a Saviour, and without a Coming King. On into the blackness of darkness, men would have swept their way until, at last, they would have been lost in the eternal night of despair.

We shudder, as we think of a world of men left to utter destruction. It would have been, as though some Heavenly sphere would have been left unorbed, and sweeping on in its maddened way.

2. With Christ raised, new hope, and light, and life hangs in the Eastern sky, betokening the world's new day. Night has passed, and redemption has drawn nigh. As we stand by the empty tomb, we see the Hope of the sinner, and the victory of the saint, coming into view. There is no blessing to man, or to the physical earth, that does not center in Christ's resurrection.

If Christ were dead, we were of all men the most miserable. "With Christ risen, we are of all men the most blessed. With Christ dead, our faith is vain, and we are yet in our sin. With Christ risen, our faith is sure, and our sins are done away. With Christ dead, those who are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. With Christ risen, the saints are destined also to rise.

3. The object of this study. It is our purpose to seek to discover in the Book of Acts, which sets forth the message and the ministry of the early saints, the far-reaching effect which the resurrection of Christ brought about upon the followers of Christ, As we do this, we will discover, withal, one of the chief proofs of the resurrection itself.

We know the sun shines because the darkness disappears, and because the warmth of the sun's rays is felt, and all life takes on an upward look.

We know that Christ is risen because new life, and hope, and love, illumine our pathway; because a new power accompanies our message; a new inspiration stirs our service; and, a new and a far-flung vision enhances our pathway.

The effect of the resurrection did not cease with the passing of the early Church. It is just as potent in the lives of the saints who live today. What means the great volume of praise which ascends from the lips of saints the world around? What means the consecration of millions to the cause of evangelism? What means the onward march of that great host of missionaries, who are pressing their way with the message of salvation, into the darkest regions of the earth? What meaneth these things? They mean that Christ is risen, and that He still works.

"The Day-star hath risen, the night-clouds have flown;

No longer in sadness I wander alone;

Its beams in the valley reflected I see;

The Day-star hath risen it shineth for me.

The Day-star hath risen in beauty sublime;

To cheer and illumine each far distant clime;

The regions in darkness its beauty shall see:

The Day-star hath risen it shineth for me."

I. THE NEW JOY (1 Peter 1:3 )

When Christ met the women, after His resurrection, He said, "All Hail" "All Joy." We know of how the women were weeping at the tomb. We know of how the two disciples went on their way to Emmaus, depressed in spirit and sad of heart. We know also of how they, one and all, were begotten again to a lively hope by the resurrection of Christ from the dead.

The early chapters of Acts breathe a spirit of exultant joy. We read that they continued daily with one accord in the Temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God, and having favor with all the people. They continually glorified the Lord Jesus.

Their joy in the Lord was so great, that persecution and penury could not dampen it. They even rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His Name. Paul and Silas in the prison at Philippi broke forth with prayer and praise, while their paeans of victory reverberated through the prison halls.

This joy and rejoicing, that gripped the early Church was evidence of a faith in Christ and in His resurrection, that nothing could overcome. They knew whom they believed; and they knew that He was not dead, but was risen indeed.

Should not this joy, that marked the ministrations of the early Church, abide?

What does it matter, though dark the way may be?

What does it matter, though naught of light I see?

There's One above me, who lives to love me,

What does it matter then, Christ Jesus lives with me?

What does it matter, though earthly friends forsake?

What does it matter, though foes my way o'ertake?

There's One beside me, who lives to guide me,

There's naught can matter then, while Christ doth undertake.

What does it matter, when life is almost o'er?

What does it matter, on Heaven's golden shore?

With Christ for ever, where naught can sever,

There's naught can matter then, in God's for evermore.

II. A NEW MESSAGE (Acts 2:24 )

We remember well the marvelous faith of certain Old Testament saints. They looked down through the years and told of Christ's death and resurrection. Job could say, "Yet in my flesh shall I see God: whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another." Abraham could receive his son from the dead, in a figure, accounting that God was able to raise him up. David could speak, with certainty, of the fact that Christ was to sit upon his throne, because he foresaw and forespake of the resurrection of Christ.

Yes, the Old Testament Prophets and seers, by faith, saw Christ risen. However, when the empty tomb became a blessed and glorious reality, then the resurrection took on a new meaning, and established a new message.

It does us all good as we follow the testimony of Peter, and of James, and of John, and of Paul, to note the emphasis they placed upon the risen Christ. They preached the Cross to be sure, but they did not separate it from the resurrection. If they told that Christ died for our sins, they also told that He was raised for our justification.

At Pentecost, Peter was quick to cry out, "Ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain" Jesus of Nazareth. However, he also said, "Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that He should be holden of it."

Following Pentecost, Peter and John, on the occasion of the healing of the lame man, sounded forth the words, "Ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; and killed the Prince of Life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses."

When Peter and John were brought before the rulers, they said, "Jesus of Nazareth whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead."

Thus it was, that, with great power, gave the Apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. Shall we of today, relegate our testimony of the empty tomb, to a once-a-year service. God forbid. Let us sound it forth as a dominant message of pulpit and of pew.

"Look up! Look up! ye weary ones,

Whose skies are veiled in night;

For He who knows the path you tread

Will yet restore the light;

Look up! and hail the dawning

Of hope's triumphant morning.

Behold Him! behold Him! Your Saviour lives today;

Behold Him! behold Him! The clouds have rolled away."

III. A NEW EMPHASIS ON CHRIST'S HEADSHIP (Acts 2:36 )

From the day that the early Church began to serve, the Lord Jesus became unto them, not only the Lord Jesus Christ raised from the dead, but He became the Lord Jesus Christ seated at the right hand of the Father, and clothed with all authority and power.

The early saints moved under the inspiration that Christ was not only alive, but that He was alive to watch over them, and to clothe them with power. They went forth under the inspiration of those parting words of Christ, "All power is given unto Me in Heaven and in earth." They felt the deep meaning of the words, which Christ added, "Lo I am with you."

How the truth of Christ's headship stirred the saints! and how they pressed on their way, nothing doubting! Listen to Peter, as the spokesman of the Twelve: he says, "This Jesus hath God raised up, * * therefore, being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, He hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear." Accordingly, Peter realized that the One, seated in the Heavens, was the One, working on earth. Men saw and heard, in the city of Jerusalem, what Christ was accomplishing from the right hand of God.

In almost his next breath Peter said, "God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye crucified, both Lord and Christ." Thus the Saviour slain, was now the Lord exalted. He was holding in His hands the reins which guided the Church.

It was for this reason, that, on the occasion of the healing of the lame man at the gate of the Temple called Beautiful, Peter said to the amazed multitude, "Why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk?" Then Peter emphasized that the man was made whole because, the Jesus whom they crucified, had been glorified.

This same vision of Christ in His headship, leadership, and authority is seen all through the Book of Acts. It is also seen in the Epistles. We need that same vision to grip us today. We serve a Christ who is not dead but living.

"Christ hath risen! Hallelujah!

Blessed morn of life and light!

Lo, the grave is rent asunder,

Death is conquered through His might.

Christ hath risen? Hallelujah!

Friends of Jesus, dry your tears;

Through the vail of gloom and darkness,

Lo, the Son of God appears!

Christ hath risen! Hallelujah!

He hath risen, as He said;

He is now the King of Glory,

And our great exalted Head."

IV. A NEW POWER IN SERVICE (Acts 1:8 )

Before Pentecost, the disciples had neither power in service nor power over the enemy. They had been given to seeking preference among themselves; they had known more or less of strife. They had failed, in attempting the miraculous. One of them had even denied his Lord, while all of them had forsaken Him and fled.

After Christ's resurrection, and ascension, and the descent of the Holy Spirit, the disciples were new men. To be sure there were, at times, marks of some of the weaknesses of their former selves; yet, as a whole, they were transformed.

We read "and with great power gave the Apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus." Not only was this true of the Apostles, themselves, but it was true also of those who labored with them, and of those who succeeded them. The seven men chosen to look after the affairs of the Church in Jerusalem, were men full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom. The laity, as well as the preachers, received the Holy Ghost. When the first great persecution arose against the Church, and they were all scattered abroad, they went everywhere preaching the Word.

The Apostle Paul was filled with the Holy Ghost, and his messages were given in power.

Not alone, however, in the realm of power was there a new order, but also in the lives of the saints. Their prayer life was deepened. They walked together with one accord. They cared one for the other, even having all things common, and the peace of God garrisoned their hearts. They lived lives which manifested the fruit of the Spirit. All of these things came as the result of the risen, ascended and seated Lord.

Jesus lives, but Jesus died;

Love to death consigned Him;

Death the mighty love resigned,

Could not hold nor bind Him:

Therefore still He meets our needs;

Jesus lives, and Jesus leads.

Yes, if Jesus lives, He leads

He will not forsake us;

He will crown His gracious deeds,

And to Glory take us:

Till that hour the Shepherd feeds;

Jesus lives, and Jesus leads.

V. A NEW VISION OF DEATH (Acts 7:55-56 ; Acts 7:59-60 )

The effect of the empty tomb carried to the hearts of the early saints a new vision concerning death. They knew not only that Christ was raised, but that He had ascended. They knew that each of them, in turn, if their bodies were laid away, would rise, and not only rise, but join their Lord above.

The empty tomb bore witness to them that the dead in Christ should rise. The empty tomb told them more. It told them that they should rise with bodies made like unto their Lord's glorified body. It told them still more. It told them that, with bodies glorified, they should be forever with the Lord. The result of Christ's resurrection was, therefore, that the early saints lost their fear of death. They were willing to be martyred for their faith, because martyrdom would only usher them into the presence of their Lord.

The death of Stephen was an inspiration to them all, in that, before Stephen gave up his spirit, his face had become as the face of an angel. He had looked up steadfastly into Heaven, and he had seen the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God.

Would that we, of today, might live under the power of this same wonderful vision! Life may be precious to us because of its association and of its opportunities; however, death exceeds in glory. Paul could well write "For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you."

Let us live in the light of the glory of Christ. Then the sorrows of earth will not overwhelm us.

"Farewell, ye dreams of night, Jesus is mine!

Lost in this dawning light; Jesus is mine!

All that my soul has tried

Left but a dismal void,

Jesus has satisfied; Jesus is mine!

Farewell, mortality; Jesus is mine!

Welcome, eternity; Jesus is mine!

Welcome, O loved and blest;

Welcome, sweet scenes of rest;

Welcome, my Saviour's breast; Jesus is mine!"

VI. A NEW FELLOWSHIP OF SAINTS (Acts 2:42-45 )

The resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ brought an entirely new order. When Christ had died, the veil of the Temple had been rent, and the Gentiles were given access, from henceforth, into the Holy of Holies, and into the presence of Christ.

When Christ was risen and exalted, a new fellowship was formed, to be known henceforth as the Church. This Church, from the beginning, met on the first day of the week to break bread. This day of resurrection, became, from the beginning, the recognized special day for the Church. The ordinance of baptism was observed, linking the Church indissolubly with the crucified and buried, yet risen and Living Lord.

The early saints understood, step by step, the deeper meaning of this new fellowship. It came to them first of all, as an addenda to Judaism. However, afterward, they saw that the Church was entirely distinct from the old order.

The Apostle Paul was sent of God to fill up the Word of God in its new message concerning the Church.

The churches in each city became the center for the fellowship of saints and for the preaching of the Word.

The churches realized that Christ, risen and seated, was their living Head. It was in Him that they moved, and from Him that they received their authority. It was He who walked in their midst, placing over them their messengers.

Until this hour, the Church is victorious in life and in testimony to the extent that it recognizes its living Head.

"The Church's one foundation

Is Jesus Christ her Lord;

She is His new creation

By water and the Word;

From Heaven He came and sought her

To be His holy Bride;

With His own Blood He bought her,

And for her life He died."

VII. A NEW HOPE (Acts 17:31 )

As the disciples and the saints of early days grasped the announcement of the angel, "He is not here: for He is ris-en," they began by the way of the Lord's empty tomb to get a vision, such as they had never known, of the things to come. The grave with its stone rolled away, had a telescopic effect upon the disciples. They knew that the One crucified, had been crucified as King of the Jews. They knew the testimony of the Prophets, that the Babe of Bethlehem, the Child of the Virgin, the Son of God, had been announced by the Prophets to sit on David's throne. Now, in that empty tomb they saw God's pledge of fulfillment.

Thus it was that from the very beginning, even at Pentecost, Peter referred to the fact that God had sworn to David that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, God would raise up Christ to sit on his throne. Peter averred that David, believing this promise, spake beforehand of the resurrection of Christ.

We do not wonder, therefore, that with the empty tomb before him, Peter called unto his nation to repent, that so the times of refreshing might come from the presence of the Lord, and that God might send Jesus Christ.

The early Church lived and moved, wrought and taught, under the inspiration of the empty tomb. To them that tomb was indissolubly linked to Christ's Second Advent.

The early saints lived, looking for that Blessed Hope and the glorious Appearing of their great God and Saviour Jesus Christ. Shall we who dwell under the very shadow of the blessed hour of that glorious Return, not lift our faces upward to greet Him as He comes?

O brothers, stand as men that wait,

The dawn is purpling in the east,

And banners wave from Heaven's high gate:

The conflict now but soon the feast.

Mercy and truth shall meet again;

Worthy the Lamb that once was slain;

We can suffer now He will know us then

What will it be when the King comes!

AN ILLUSTRATION SEED ADVERTISEMENTS

For to me to live is Christ. There is an acre of lovely green turf on the outskirts of a busy English town, and close by the railway track. The grass is as fine and close as the turf in the quadrangle of an old university. This explanation is given to the passing traveler: "Grown from 's seed." No other advertisement is needed. And when we see a strong, forbearing, self-forgetful life, raised from the mystical doctrines of grace, "Grown from reconciliation with God," "Grown from the Divine forgiveness," no other witness will be needed. We shall be drawn to the same great seed house where we, too, can obtain the powers of the risen life. S. S. Chronicle.

 


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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Neighbour, Robert E. "Wells of Living Water Commentary on Acts 1:4". "Living Water". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/lwc/acts-1.html.

Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, August 17th, 2019
the Week of Proper 14 / Ordinary 19
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