Have you ever wondered what it would have been like to have been a follower of Jesus at the time of the very first Easter?
The feeling of emptiness with Jesus’ crucifixion… and then the surprise and elation at his resurrection… and then the bizarre period of time with his frequent appearances… and then the witnessing of his ascension into Heaven.
So much happened in such a brief time, and what looked like failure for Jesus’ kingdom was instead a time of excitement and anticipation.
It is with this in mind that the Bible’s book of ‘Acts’ was written for us, providing a powerful witness to how the message of Jesus led thousands to become his followers, which then led them to send that message to the ends of the earth, like ripples in a pond.
Given the shape of Jesus’ earthly ministry, it should have been no surprise to us that the ministry of his Holy Spirit brought great highs and lows to the first Christians.
At times, there was a great buzz as people finally understood that Jesus was the Messiah, which was accompanied at times with some miraculous displays of the power of the Holy Spirit.
At the same time, there were many moments of deliberation, as the Jewish believers in Jesus tried to come to terms with the challenges of including non-Jewish ‘Gentiles’ in the kingdom of God.
And at the same time, there were many moments where the leaders of God’s church were inflicted with horrible wounds as they were persecuted for speaking the truth about Jesus.
The story of Acts is the story of the launching of the church, with all its highs and lows, and it helps us understand the place that we have in the storyline of the building of the church of Christ.
What a time to be alive!