What brings excitement into your home? Might it be that a surprise encounter with a snake in your yard or some other wild creature sends young kids barreling in through the back door? Could it be the gripping end to a game at a sporting event where the favored team pulls a close victory out of the final seconds on the clock? Or perhaps you’ve experienced the growing anticipation that builds before a loved one returns from overseas military duty, or a beloved grandparent comes for a visit.
If you’ve been following our blog entries these past weeks, you’ve no doubt sensed that something significant was brewing – anticipation was building. Once Jesus’ followers accepted the full impact of His resurrection, I’m guessing they began to ask, “What is this leading up to? Now that we can rejoice that a garden tomb could not contain our Savior – now that we’ve had days and weeks to interact with Him – now that He has given us incontrovertible evidence that He is truly alive – now what?
Do you remember from last week’s reading (Acts 1:6) that the disciples were still thinking in terms of their present, political bondage to Rome. “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the Kingdom to Israel?”
As you gather your family together, read again Acts 1:6 and then, the following two verses, Acts 1:7, 8. Notice how patient Jesus continues to be. Notice that verse eight is not so much a command as it is a prophecy – ‘you will receive power; you will be my witnesses!’ And then He carefully explains how this will begin and how it will end: from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth!
Challenge your family to create a ‘map’ for two of the words Jesus uses: power and witness. Form two teams. Working from your shared, everyday experiences, let each group take one of the words and see if they can fill up a page with words, phrases, examples, sketches of people and places and the like to go with each. After a set time limit, come together and share your findings. It might help to have a dictionary available. Save these papers for the next time you meet.
It is easy to read about the Feast of Pentecost online, or check out commentaries you may already have in your library. A little time doing research helps you to better understand how beautifully our Heavenly Father set the stage for one of the most exciting moments in all human history. Later on this week, when you gather your family together to read the second chapter of Acts, you’ll be able to appreciate how special this particular Day of Pentecost became for those gathered in Jerusalem and how important it is for us today.
The story continues the next time we meet. Hang on to your hats; it’s going to be a wild ride!