Monday, April 20, 2009

Forty Days of Kingdom Revelation

The former account I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, until the day in which He was taken up, after He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen, to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God. (Acts 1:1-3)
The forty days between Jesus’ resurrection and His ascension to His throne in heaven — what an unusual time for Him and His disciples — are full of world-changing significance. Like everything else in His ministry, they were about the kingdom of God. He began His ministry announcing that it was now at hand. He went about preaching it and teaching it by parables and discourse. He demonstrated it by healing the sick, cleansing the lepers, casting out demons and raising the dead — and sent His disciples out to do the same. He taught them how to pray, “Kingdom of God, come! Will of God, be done!” He announced that the kingdom was within them.

After the resurrection, He declared that all authority in heaven and on earth had been given to Him. Surely, that is about the kingdom of God, the rule and reign of God coming to earth and the will of God being done on earth as it is in heaven. It was in that context that He commissioned His disciples to go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to observe all the things Jesus had commanded them. This is all about the kingdom of God.

Before He ascended to His throne in heaven, He told His disciples to go to Jerusalem and wait for the Promise of the Father. They asked Him if He was restoring the kingdom to Israel at that time. He answered that it was not for them to know the times or the seasons which the Father placed in His own authority. Instead, He gave them this — and I believe it is where the answer to their question is really found: “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” This power and this witness are all about the kingdom of God, testifying and demonstrating that Jesus is King and His kingdom is now in the world — in Jerusalem, in Judea, in Samaria and extending to the ends of the earth. These forty days between Resurrection and Ascension were about preparing the disciples to receive His kingdom and manifest it by the power of the Holy Spirit.

The kingdom of God has come into the world. The resurrected Christ has ascended to His glory and the Holy Spirit has come upon His people. His purpose is to bring forth the evidence of who Jesus is and manifest His kingdom, heaven on earth, here and now.