Acts Chapter One
1 In my former book (referring to the Gospel of Luke), Theophilus (name means “Friend of God” also Luke 1:3), 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 have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days will be baptized with the Holy Spirit." (Luke 3:16, Matthew 3:16) 6 so when they met together, they asked him, "Lord, are at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?" 7 He said to them: "It is not for to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on ; and will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." 9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. 10 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11 "Men of Galilee," they said, "why do stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from into heaven, will come back in the same way have seen him go into heaven."
12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the hill called the Mount of Olives, a Sabbath day's walk from the city. 13 When they arrived, they went upstairs to the room where they were staying. Those present were Peter, John, James and Andrew; Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew; James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. 14 They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers. (12 plus in attendance – early arrivals)
15 In those days Peter stood up among the believers (a group numbering about a hundred and twenty) 16 and said, "Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled which the Holy Spirit spoke long ago through the mouth of David concerning Judas, who served as guide for those who arrested Jesus-- (Psalm 109, 69) 17 he was one of our number and shared in this ministry." 18 (With the reward he got for his wickedness, Judas bought a field; there he fell headlong, his body burst open and all his intestines spilled out. 19 Everyone in Jerusalem heard about this, so they called that field in their language Aceldama, that is, Field of Blood.) 20 "For," said Peter, "it is written in the book of Psalms,” 'May his place be deserted; let there be no one to dwell in it,' and, " 'May another take his place of leadership.'
21 Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22 beginning from John's baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us. For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection." 23 So they proposed two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Barsabbas one of the 70 – Son of Mary Cleophas) and Matthias. 24 Then they prayed, "Lord, know everyone's heart. Show us which of these two have chosen 25 to take over this apostolic ministry, which Judas left to go where he belongs." 26 Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles.
ACTS Chapter One: Like the book of Luke and Acts both address Theophilus – (In Greek means the friend of God). In effect this book is written to believers as a witness of the first days of the Church to the Testimony of Jesus Christ. Acts 2-28 was a very prophetic time. There were no Bibles. They spoke first-hand about their relationship with Jesus. (Revelation 19:10 tells us that the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy). So Luke, compatriot of the Apostle Paul, recorded in His Gospel all that the Holy Spirit moved his hand to write about. He wrote about all that Jesus did and taught right up to His ascension.
Luke then makes a clear statement about the resurrection. Jesus ‘showed’ Himself to people for 40 days. He appeared to them and gave them convincing proofs that He was alive. He revealed Himself and He spoke about the Kingdom of God. While eating with them He reinforced what He had told them the night He introduced the New Passover. “Don’t leave Jerusalem but wait for the gift My Father promised which you have heard me speak about – for John baptized with water but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit. When He arrives you will receive power to become my witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria and to the ends of the earth.”
Witnesses of what?
Right after Jesus said these things there were about 500 first hand witnesses of the ascension. Jesus was taken up right before their eyes and a cloud hid Him. As they stared in amazement (maybe the same two men dressed in white who were at the empty tomb resurrection morning) now stood there again saying, “People of Galilee, why do you stand there looking at the sky? This same Jesus who has been taken into heaven will come back in the same way you have seen Him go into heaven."
Again, witnesses of what?
They had walked with Jesus. They had witnessed His whole ministry. They had seen the miracles first-hand. They had heard about the Kingdom of Heaven. So why would Jesus say, “When the Holy Spirit comes you will become my witnesses and take the stand before all the juries of the whole world to share His Testimony (at home, in your neighborhoods, in public, in everyday life, in business - wherever and whatever you do). Some would be full time witnessing to the furthest reaches of the planet.
The Holy Spirit would cause them all to become prophets declaring whatever the Holy Spirit showed them and said to them. Jesus demonstrated this His whole earthly ministry.
Now He was coming to them by way of His Holy Spirit so that the Holy Spirit could:
1) Lead them into the presence of Jesus
2) Then bring all things to their remembrance
3) And show them things to come
John spends his Gospel telling about why the Holy Spirit had to come before they could become the witnesses that the Holy Spirit would empower them to be.
Where would they find the presence of Jesus? Jesus told them in the Upper Room before He went to the Cross. In John 1; He is the Logos come in flesh. In John 6 His Flesh is the Bread of Life and His Blood is the Wine of Life. So Jesus will always be found at His Table. That is where His presence would be found. In His presence the Holy Spirit will reveal Jesus to them by opening their eyes to recognize Him (Luke 24:30-31) in what they see and hear when they partake of Him in the bread and the wine that Jesus calls His Flesh and Blood. In John 13 He reveals Himself to them as the Servant King. He loves them first. He serves them first. He is waiting for them at His Table. He wants for every believer to meet with Him one-on-one, intimately, personally and in a way that lets each one emerge from His presence with a first-hand witness. In John 14-16 Jesus talks about why He needs to leave and send the Holy Spirit. Five times He talks directly about the Holy Spirit and how He will bring all things to their remembrance right after telling them to “Do this in remembrance of Me.” In John 17 Jesus prays for the miracle of Communion and the Fire of the Holy Spirit to bring us into the full unity of faith with Him, the Father, the Holy Spirit and then, from that Communion into Communion with one another.
After watching Jesus Ascend, what do you think those who were there talked about on the way back to the Upper Room? Aren’t we already witnesses? Didn’t we see His ministry, His death, resurrection and ascension?
You mean there’s more?
Yes. Now they would find out what Jesus meant when He said, “I do nothing unless the Father shows me first. I say nothing unless the Father tells me first. All that Jesus did and said came straight from the Father. Now, when baptized in the Holy Spirit and fire by Jesus, the Holy Spirit will only show each believer what Jesus shows Him first and speak only what Jesus tells Him to tell us. Then in effect the Church will only share with others what the Lord has revealed to them and said to them.
Many do not understand this witness (Greek word "martus" where we get the word martyr). We are dead. It is no longer us that live but Jesus who lives in us. The life that we now live we live by the faith of the Son of God who died and gave Himself for us.
We are born again spiritually when we turn to the Lord and believe by giving our life to Jesus.
We are reckoned dead to this world in waters of baptism to become citizens of a heavenly country.
We are made alive in the Spirit when Jesus baptizes us in the Holy Spirit and Fire.
We are kept alive spiritually and revived by feeding on Communion at The Table of the Lord.
We are transformed from glory to glory by feeding on the presence of the Lord in CommunionFire.
a) The Bread of His Flesh opens our eyes to see Him in His glory.
b) The Wine of his Blood opens our ears to hear what He says to us.
c) The heart comprehends and gets understanding from the Spirit
d) The ever-deepening conversion happens through transformation
e) And we are made whole through transformation in CommunionFire.
It is our encounters with Jesus and our experiences as a result of being in Communion with Jesus that gives integrity to our witness. We speak what we know to be true first-hand. So Jesus was letting us all know that when we receive His baptism of the Holy Ghost and Fire, we are then in a position to relate to Him personally at His Table.
Jesus in Heaven, Holy Spirit not sent yet so Jesus' Mother leads the new family in prayer and fellowship.
When they gathered in the Upper Room after watching Jesus ascend and disappear behind the clouds it was Jesus Mother that got things going. Jesus in heaven for His coronation as King of kings and Lord of lords, meant that Mary was now Queen of the Kingdom. In Israel it was not the wife that became queen by the mother! With Jesus seated at the right hand of the Father and the believers all getting ready to be filled with the Holy Spirit, Mary said, “Let’s pray while we await the promise of Jesus and the Father. Let’s wait before the Lord and practice Communion as Jesus taught the night before His death and which He demonstrated again when He arose from the dead.” Outside of Peter having an election by lots to replace Judas Iscariot, all that were gathering at the Upper Room had the most amazing seminar. Imagine the Blessed Mother, Ever Virgin and now Queen of Heaven sharing her secrets with her friends as part of the Upper Room, “Waiting for the Holy Spirit” Prayer Conference!
Mother Mary had Communion with Jesus every day! She prepared the meals and sat down with Jesus for snack time, breakfast, lunch and dinner. Jesus was her everything. Having Communion means sitting down at the table with Jesus. So you might say Mary had Communion at least 3 times a day with God! In the beginning she was His source for food while at the same time He was the source of the mysteries of God every day.
Angels were there and for 30 years the reality of the Kingdom was in Mary's House! The King and the Queen resided together and while Mary raised her Son in the physical world enabling Him to become an adult the way the rest of us do, Jesus was preparing her for the rest of eternity as His Mother and to become Queen.
Mary had held all these things in her heart. Soon Mother was to become Queen. She was officially "Queen-in-waiting" and able to share her ‘witness’ about Jesus childhood, boyhood and what He was like as a young adult. The house probably had regular angelic visits. Jesus prepared His mother for her role as Queen of the Church and of Heaven. You must know and believe that if Mary was the very “Ark of the Covenant” for nine months, she had been more than baptized in the Holy Spirit, for it was by the Holy Spirit that baby Jesus was conceived in her womb. Mary lived in the Spirit for thirty three years! If Jesus is the chief cornerstone to the Church then she not only gave birth to the Church but was the first member of the Church, thirty three years before everyone else. Then Dear, Blessed, Mother Mary became Queen. Can you think of a better Queen in all the Universe? Who else had been made by God and was given the once in creation privilege to become the dwelling place of God for nine months? She became the model for all believers who were born again and by the new birth became the dwelling place of God. She was the first to carry God within her body.
It is just as Elizabeth exclaimed and who was probably there in the Upper Room as well, “Hail Mary full of grace for the Lord is within you! Blessed are you among all women of all time and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus!” This was a prophecy given to her at the moment she was filled with the Holy Spirit. John the Baptist, who was in Elizabeth’s womb when Mary and Jesus came into their house, lept with joy that Jesus was in the same room. It was at that moment that the “baptizer” witnessed a greater baptism while he was still in his mother’s womb. The last of the Old Covenant Prophets and according to Jesus ‘the greatest of all the Prophets”, witnessed the Birthing of the New Covenant while still in the womb.
We know that Mary Cleophas was there and Mary Zebedee and maybe even Jesus Grandmother Anna along with all of Jesus’ cousins called His brothers and the rest of the close followers and disciples of Jesus. About 120 had gathered and Queen Virgin Mother Mary, noblest of all women was set to prepare the believers to be baptized by Jesus in the Holy Ghost and in Fire. It was only after my observation about the 9 Day Holy Ghost Prayer Conference that Veronica Marie LaMena pointed out that it was this event that inspired the Roman Catholic Church that inspired the Novena Prayers. (Novenas are 9 days of prayer with a specific focus.) Of course in the Church the greatest are servants of all, a reflection of the Servant King who washed the feet of His friends the night before the crucifixion. . Mary proved to be the best example of that throughout all her life as she quietly gave life to the Son of God, raised Him and followed His every step right to the foot of the Cross.
We focus a bit on the Mother of God because so rarely do we hear about her but in the circles of fellowship with our Eastern and Western Catholic brothers and sisters. It took the early church 400 years to come to grips with these types of realities and so perhaps after 400 years of non-Catholic history, perhaps it is time for us to come to grips with the all-important role of Jesus’ Mother Mary and her role in all of our salvation history.
After nine days of fellowship, practicing Communion, prayer and waiting on the Lord the day of Pentecost finally fully arrived!