From Gethsemane to Mount Olives
Bible Lesson: Acts 1:1-11
Theme Verses: Vs. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
The journey of Jesus from Gethsemane to Golgotha and finally to the tomb was full of suffering, agony and pain. But from the tomb to Mount Olives and finally to Heaven was the glorious one. The book of Acts begins with Jesus who not only laid the foundation of the Church but also is the head. Disciples who were frightened and discouraged at the time of Jesus’ death, regained immense power and courage through the Holy Spirit after the ascension of Jesus to heaven. Jesus stayed with His disciples for forty days and speaking them about the kingdom of God. He asked His disciples to wait upon the promised Holy Spirit to come before they could witness. Finally, He was taken into heaven in the presence of His disciples with a promise of His Second coming.
After Resurrection Jesus gave convincing proof to His disciples that He is alive and this affirms our faith in the living God. Biblically there are three proofs about Jesus’ resurrection: (a) The empty tomb in Jerusalem (b) Hundreds of eyewitnesses (c) Interaction of Jesus with all His disciples (individually as well as in group) within the span of 40 days. The resurrection was proved by touch, sight and feel. Till this date no archeologist has ever proved that they found the remains of Jesus in the grave except the cloth which was neatly folded and kept aside. In spite of the proofs given by Jesus and great historians, there are still some people who don’t believe in His resurrection. They are still looking for signs and evidences. The Word of God is very clear that the ‘message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God’ (1 Corinth 1:18). When we believe in God then we should also believe in His miraculous work of salvation through Jesus Christ. We should not have any doubt in the gospel but ‘if someone asks about your faith Christian hope, always be ready to explain it (1 Peter 3:15).’
In this passage Jesus assures His disciples and to the Church at large about the coming of the Holy Spirit the third person of the Holy Trinity. He emphasized on the baptism of the Holy Spirit and the power to witness about the gospel after receiving of the Holy Spirit. Bible meticulously explains the person and work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believers, in the church as well as in the natural world. It is only through the Holy Spirit we are enabled to witness the work of Christ to the world. Jesus’ disciples were more interested in knowing about the role of Christ in restoring the nation Israel. Even till this juncture disciples couldn’t understand Jesus’ suffering, death and resurrection. But when they received the Holy Spirit then their eyes and minds were open. They were transformed completely and also become an agent of transformation for many. They realized that God never sent His son just to restore the kingdom of Israel but to restore and transform all the nations of the world. We may only understand God’s mysteries through the power of the Holy Spirit.
One of the very famous holy sites at Jerusalem for Christians is Chapel of Ascension a place where Jesus ascended into heaven. At the time of His ascension, Jesus was being witnessed by many. There were also two men in white robes stood by them and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” At Mount Olives we get an assurance of Jesus’ Second Coming. The book of Acts is the glorious work of Church engaged in the ministry of evangelism (fulfilling the Great Commission) empowered through the Holy Spirit. Jesus’ ascension does not denote that His work on earth is over but Jesus lives and continues to work through the church which will still continue till His Second Coming is fulfilled.
King of my life, I crown Thee now,
Thine shall the glory be;
Lest I forget Thy thorn-crowned brow,
Lead me to Calvary.