This week begin our journey into the Acts of the Apostles. This is the fifth book in the New Testament and tells the stories of the founding the Christian Church and its spread of the Good News to the Roman Empire. It is thought that the author of this book is also the author of the book of Luke, although we do not know who this was. There is some thought that it was Luke who was a companion of Paul’s as well as a physician, but this has not been proven beyond doubt.
Just prior to our reading this week we are introduced to the reason for the book as well as the information that Jesus has been with his disciples for some 40 days ordering them not to leave Jerusalem but to wait there for the promise of the Father.
Our reading gives us questions around the time of the restoration of the kingdom of Israel. I’ve been listening to the Bible Project podcast recently as I walk in the morning, and they have just been having a discussion about what “kingdom” means in the Bible. We understand a kingdom is a place ruled over by a king or queen, but the bible understanding is different. The Jewish understanding of kingdom is of an action that includes a place, the activity of a King reigning over his people. Hopefully that broadens our understanding of what is meant by the kingdom of God. Jesus responds to these questions by saying it is not up to us to know the times or periods that God has set in place. He foreshadows the coming of the Holy Spirit and then he ascends to heaven. From now on the disciples begin to understand that things are never going to be the same. It’s a hinge moment. A space in time where you can see what is behind you and you can begin to glimpse what may be ahead. Things are changing, turning and we face the future with some excitement as well as trepidation. As the door opens to show us what is next, what are the thoughts we have around those next steps forward?
I’m sure, that like me, there have been times when you stood at that door or on that edge not too sure about stepping out, being both excited and scared about what is ahead. It’s a hinge moment, when you know that things will change.
We will glimpse some of this as we baptise little Joseph this morning. He may not realise it, but Amesh and Angie do. We also need to be there, because we need to commit to taking that step of faith with them.