Jesus told His followers to wait, for something big was about to happen. Talk about what it’s like in your family to ‘wait.’ Let someone make a list of things you’ve had to wait for as different members of your family share. I can remember when I was in grade school, feeling impatient on New Year’s Day at the thought that the next Christmas would be soooo long in coming. How about you? What do you find hard to wait for? Did anyone share an experience where they had to wait for something unpleasant? Hopefully it was mostly happy anticipation for occasions like a birthday party…or a baby brother? Hmmm. Maybe summer vacation?
Acts, chapter one, explained what Jesus’ followers did between His ascension and the Day of Pentecost as they waited. When the waiting was over, the story begins dramatically in Acts 2:1. Gather your family around with a Bible for each one. Younger kids could have a Bible story book that hopefully includes the account of what is about to happen, or art supplies for drawing pictures to illustrate what they hear from the readers.
It is truly one of the most dramatic events of Scripture! Let someone begin reading the story as the narrator, then add Peter and then another reader can take the prophecy portions (verses 17-21 and verses 25-28) with Peter reading verses 22-24 in between. Then let Peter pick up his sermon at verse 29 – 36. Someone can read verse 37 and Peter finishes his sermon in verses 38-39; the narrator takes the final verses 40-47. Read as you would if you were involved in an exciting story – for that is what you’re doing.
Remember, Peter was a fisherman by trade, not an orator. Who is making his eloquence possible? His memory of Old Testament passages? His answers to the people’s questions? Who made it possible for Aramaic speaking Jews to relate similar messages in languages they had not learned but that were understood by the many visitors?
If you did the exercise from our last entry and have the word ‘maps’ on POWER and WITNESS, spend some time filling in empty spaces with ideas you glean from this reading. For POWER, jot down what visible signs of power there were. For WITNESS, list five or so facts that Peter gives about Jesus that he wants his listeners to be sure to understand.
Let someone who hasn’t had a chance to read very much read Acts 1:8. Isn’t it great to see how Jesus’ promise in this verse, unfolds in Acts, chapter two? If you’ve done some research on Pentecost, you’ve discovered that Jewish believers came to Jerusalem from all over the known world for this celebration of ‘weeks,’ known also as Shavuot (Shah.voo.oat). It was a time of thanksgiving for Moses receiving the Law on Mt. Sinai. In this glad event, ACTS TWO!, we see the fulfillment of God’s expectation in the Ten Commandments, as He provides the power to believe the witness of these disciples…a witness that was carried back home with the visitors…a witness that is important for us, even today.
If you have a wall map of the world, gather around it and find Jerusalem. With a pointer, trace around the area in larger and larger circles until they take in Rome and Libya to the West and Syria and Iran to the east. This is the area represented by the visitors to Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost. Now, let different ones point to what might be the ends of the earth today? Is there any nation on the map where the witness to Jesus’ resurrection has not penetrated? Have you heard true stories about how people from very remote areas are coming now to places where a Gospel witness flourishes?
To wrap it all up, what main ideas should we remember from this exciting event?
1. The promised Holy Spirit provides us with the POWER we need for sharing the Good News about Jesus – the Gospel – with others.
2. This WITNESS is primarily to the resurrection of our Savior Who died in our place so that our sins can be forgiven.
One final thought: I wonder if Paul, after he became a follower of Jesus, felt left out that he wasn’t present on the Day of Pentecost? Something he wrote gives a clue. Ask a family member to read Romans 1:1-4 and 16-17. Note how these verses echo what we’ve been experiencing today. We know Paul saw the Risen Lord on the Damascus Road. Maybe he was also given a play-back view of this great, historic moment – this special event recorded in ACTS TWO.
It’s o.k. to get excited, you know. And it’s a great way to end your time together by praising our Heavenly Father for the gift of His Spirit, promised by our Savior…for the birth-day of His Church. Reciting Acts 1:8 in unison makes sense. Someone could lead you all in a praise song. Dancing would be acceptable, too.
Halleluiah! What are we waiting for now?!