Over the years Acts 2 => 9 has been the picture of the early church and has been combed through very carefully for “how it should be done”. I have always thought that Stephen was stoned and the Apostles beaten because the Devil hated the Church. I have taught and heard sermons on “having everything in common”. I have also heard sermons on how those practices border on Communism, and God was just stopping the problem from growing. It is truly amazing how we can turn a coin and see true stuff on both sides!
I will not argue either of those points but add this thought into the mix. First, we need to
look at Acts 1:8 where Jesus reminded the disciples to witness in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the rest of the world. Now, we look at Acts 8:1 when the persecution started and the disciples were scattered from Jerusalem to Judea and Samaria. I am thinking that Jesus had to “turn things around” and get the disciples to go out and start witnessing. I have a feeling that the Church had gotten too comfortable with how everything was working and was not thinking about “going out”.
They had resources, Leaders, a power base to work from (Jerusalem), and the example Jesus had given them when they were with Him (they had a common purse). (See the topics in Week 4.) I think the Beta Program had and was working in Acts 5 and 6 but everyone was comfy and did not want to leave Jerusalem.
Jesus used what the Devil meant for harm to move the Church into spreading the Gospel.
This week we deal with the end of Jesus’ forty days on earth. The Ascension is a very important part of the Easter story. Without the Ascension the Holy Spirit could not come. Day Six is what I think may have happened when Jesus went to go take His victors seat next to the Father.
- Passover to Pentecost – Forty
- Passover to Pentecost – Other Typologies
- Passover to Pentecost – Other Ascension Stories
- Passover to Pentecost – The Ascension Foretold
- Passover to Pentecost –The Ascension
- Passover to Pentecost – After the Cloud!
- Passover to Pentecost –The Second Coming
The time period of Passover to Pentecost (Counting the Omer) is, was, and will be an important event in the history of the Jews but also for Christians! It defined the start of the Jewish calendar and propelled them as a group to gain the “Promised Land.” Jesus’ life and ministry was to fulfill the “type and shadow” of Passover and the meeting of God in the desert. The work of salvation had to be finished at Passover! Jesus, however, had other task(s) to accomplish: send the Holy Spirit and birth His Church!
In Jesus’ life there are four recorded Passovers in the Gospels. John, in his Gospel, used the term “Passover” the most and records three of the four Feast. Luke talks about two of them and Mark and Matthew cover the last one where He was offered up as our sacrifice. The four recorded Passovers and Counting of the Omers are:
- Luke 2:11; He also writes the story of the Ascension to Pentecost.
- John 2:13 to 4:43 (this ending story is my guess)
- John 6:4 to 7:1
- John 12 to 21 and continues into the Book of Acts. (See After the Cloud)
One thing that all four of these Passovers have in common is that Jesus returns to Galilee.
- In Luke 2 Jesus twelve when He gave His parents a prelude to His ministry. A fun thought here is Nicodemus may have been present for that question and answer session.
- The second recorded Passover was the start of Jesus’ public ministry. Nicodemus was definitely part of this story and he was in a question and answer session with Jesus. The time frame of John 2 to 4, I chose for the “Counting of the Omer” because of what happened in these chapters. Jesus and the disciples were baptizing (in the Jordan) and going to Jacob’s Well in Samaria, this is where Joshua went during his “first fifty” days, and the “blessings and curses” were read on the two mountains.
- Jesus’ “second Passover” in His ministry period is not well defined. In John 6 and 7 more “shadowing and mirroring” is done: Jesus feeds the 5000, talks about manna and the true Bread of Life, and foretells Judas’ betrayal. The group ends back up in Galilee and the next reference in the chapter is to the Feast of Tabernacles (7thmonth of the year).
- The third and final Passover is what Christians now associate with Easter. (See the Day of Preparation.)