Jul. 8. Renewed Persecution in Jerusalem

Acts 12:1-25

During the lifetime of Jesus and during the growth of the early church, the Herods ruled the areas in and around Jerusalem. Herod the Great killed the male children after the birth of Jesus. His son, Herod Antipas ruled during the ministry of Jesus and examined Him during His trial in Jerusalem.

Herod Agrippa I came into power about AD 41 and during his reign, he began to persecute the church. He killed James, the brother of John with the sword. When he saw that the Jews were pleased with his actions, he arrested Peter and put him in prison.

Since it was time for the Passover, Herod delayed any action with Peter until later. He placed four squads of guards over him to make sure he did not escape as he and the other apostles had done before.

During the time that Peter was in prison, the church was in constant prayer for him.

The night before Herod was to bring him out, Peter thought that he was having a vision. While he was sleeping bound by two chains between two guards, two other guards were at the door keeping their prisoner secure. A bright light and an angel appeared, woke him up and instructed him to get up quickly, get dressed and to follow him.

With his hands free of the chains, Peter did as he was told. The doors and gates opened on their own accord and as they left the main prison gate, they went down one street and the angel disappeared. He realized at this point that he was not seeing a vision, but that these things were real and that God had delivered him from a certain death.

After considering what had just taken place, Peter went to the house of Mary, the mother of John Mark where they were praying for him. When he knocked on the door, a young lady named Rhoda went to the door and recognizing His voice, she ran back to tell them that Peter was at the door.

As Peter continued knocking, Rhoda managed to get the others to go to the door. They had seen miracles performed, but were surprised to see him.

Peter related the details of his release and instructed the people to notify James and the other brethren. He then left for another location.

The next morning when the guards woke up, there was a great uproar about what had become of Peter. Herod should have known that God had released him, as had happened earlier with Peter and John and then all twelve of the apostles. Instead of using logic, his anger caused him to have all of the sixteen guards put to death.

Herod then returned to Caesarea. After relations between himself and the people of Tyre and Sidon had been mended, He gave a great oration to them.

Herod made such an impression on the people, that they elevated him to the level of a god. This pleased his ego after having been defeated by God in Jerusalem. They continued to shout, “The voice of a god and not of a man!”

God was so displeased because of Herod’s arrogance and pride that he caused worms to invade his body and eat him until he died.

After the death of Herod, the church enjoyed another period of relative calm and continued to grow and multiply.

Barnabas and Saul had completed their relief mission to Jerusalem and returned to Antioch. John Mark, a cousin of Barnabas went with them.


Jul. 7. Jewish Christians Begin to Accept Gentile Converts

Acts 11:1-30

News of the conversion of Cornelius soon reached Jerusalem. When Peter returned, he was confronted with this news that he had eaten with uncircumcised men. The Jewish brethren condemned Peter instead of rejoicing that salvation had come to the Gentiles.

Peter explained the events that had occurred in those days. He related the visions that Cornelius and he had leading up to the baptism of the Gentiles. When the Jews had heard Peter’s report, they glorified God because salvation had been brought to the Gentiles.

The church was continuing to grow in areas great distances from Jerusalem. Those who were scattered after the death of Stephen went to Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch. Saul and others were also preaching in far-off regions.

When news came back to Jerusalem that Gentiles were being converted, they sent Barnabas to Antioch to encourage these new believers. After a short while there, he left and went to Tarsus to bring Saul back to help him.

Barnabas and Saul worked together in Antioch for a year teaching and strengthening the church. “And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.” That fulfilled Isaiah’s prophecy of a new name. (Is. 62:2)

Agabus, a prophet from Jerusalem came and prophesied that a great famine was soon to occur throughout the entire world. Because of the great poverty in Jerusalem, the church in Antioch (Gentiles) sent relief to them (Jews). This was sent to the elders and carried by Barnabas and Saul.


Jul. 6. Gospel Preached to the Gentiles

Acts 10:1-48

While Peter was in Joppa, Cornelius, a Gentile centurion in the Italian Regiment of the Roman Army, was fasting and praying at his home in Caesarea about thirty miles north up the coast of the Mediterranean Sea.

Before that time, Gentiles had not been included in the preaching of Christ. Cornelius was a good moral devout man, who was living according to the Jewish customs, which he had acquired while being a soldier in their land, even praying at their hour of prayer; but he was lost.

The Gentiles were included in God’s promise to save the world. God was reminded of this promise by the prayer of Cornelius. He sent an angel to tell Cornelius to call for Peter to come from Joppa and he would tell him what he must do. Notice that God did not directly save either the eunuch, Saul or Cornelius, but arranged for preachers/teachers to tell them what they must do. Immediately, Cornelius sent two servants and a soldier to Joppa.

At noon the next day, Peter went up on the housetop to pray and had a most unusual experience. He, too, had a vision and in this vision, he saw a sheet, which contained all kinds of animal life lowered from heaven.

A voice commanded Peter to rise, kill and eat. He replied, “Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean.”

The voice said, “What God has cleansed you must not call common.”

While Peter was trying to determine the meaning of this encounter, the men from Cornelius arrived. The Holy Spirit informed him that three men were looking for him and that he would go with them without any doubts.

Peter took six brethren with him and went to Caesarea with the three men from Cornelius. When they arrived, they found that Cornelius was prepared to hear the things commanded by God. He had gathered together his relatives and close friends to hear Peter.

“As Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshiped him. But Peter lifted him up, saying, ‘Stand up: I myself am also a man.’” There are many today, who kneel and bow down before “holy” men in their churches. It was wrong to worship Peter then and it is wrong to worship a man now.

This was a momentous occasion. Before then, Jews did not accept Gentiles as religious or social equals. Peter explained that God had shown him that he should call no man common or unclean and that God shows no partiality. He also pointed out that people in every nation who fear and obey God are accepted by Him.

Peter then preached Christ to those who were assembled. He discussed the life of Jesus and how the Jews had rejected and crucified Him. God had raised Him up on the third day and the chosen ones (apostles) had eaten and drunk with Him after the resurrection. These apostles had been commanded to preach that whoever believes in Him would receive remission of sins.

While Peter was teaching, the Holy Spirit fell upon Cornelius and the other hearers. The only time this had ever happened before was on Pentecost, the day when the church was established. This outpouring of the Spirit was to show that the Gentiles were truly equal to the Jews in their relationship to God. Peter then commanded these Gentiles to be baptized.


Jul. 5. Saul Begins to Preach

Acts 9:20-31; Gal. 1:11-19

Repentance, which is a change of heart along with a change of actions, is one of the requirements for salvation. One of the greatest examples of repentance ever recorded was found in Saul. Soon after his conversion, he went to Arabia for a period of time and received divine instructions through the revelation of Jesus regarding his mission to preach the gospel.

After being taught the gospel more fully, Saul returned to Damascus. His mission of binding followers of Christ and taking them to Jerusalem was reversed and he began to preach that the Christ is indeed the Son of God.

Saul’s change of life placed him in the same danger that he had imposed on the believers earlier. The Jews plotted to kill him, but when he found out about it, the disciples let him down the wall of the city in a basket by night and he escaped and returned to Jerusalem after an absence of more than three years.

After returning to Jerusalem, Saul attempted to join the disciples, but they were afraid of him. Barnabas, one of the early leaders of the church, took him to the apostles and explained his conversion to them.

Saul preached boldly in the temple for a few days, but his life was once again in danger. Jesus appeared to him in a trance and instructed him to leave and go preach to the Gentiles. After being in Jerusalem and with Peter only fifteen days, the disciples helped him escape to his hometown of Tarsus.

While away from Jerusalem, Saul did not remain idle. He went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia preaching and establishing churches during the next several years.


Jul. 4. Saul Converted

Acts 9:1-19

Saul was an intense persecutor of the church. He was a devout Pharisee who was born in the city of Tarsus, in Cilicia about four hundred fifty miles north of Jerusalem. The place of his birth was at a seat of Greek learning and it also made him a Roman citizen.

Jewish boys were taught a trade by their fathers. In Saul’s early training, he learned the trade of tent making, which he followed during his adult years. He was brought up as a youth in Jerusalem as a student of the great teacher, Gamaliel.

After about seven years had passed since the church was established, Saul was making life difficult for the believers. He went to Jerusalem and received authority from the high priest to go to Damascus and bind disciples and bring them back to Jerusalem. Damascus was about one hundred forty miles north of Jerusalem.

When Saul came near Damascus, a strange thing happened to him. A bright light shone from heaven and a voice called out to him and said, “Saul, Saul why are you persecuting Me?”

The men who were traveling with Saul heard the voice but didn’t understand or see anyone. During this encounter, Jesus told him to, “Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” He did not hesitate to obey the Lord’s command.

While Saul, being blinded by the light, was being led into Damascus, a disciple named Ananias had a vision. The Lord instructed him in this vision to go to a certain house where Saul of Tarsus was praying. Saul was also seeing Ananias in a vision restoring his sight.

At first, Ananias was afraid to meet with Saul because he had heard of the things that he had done in Jerusalem and that he was even going to bind those in Damascus who called on the Lord’s name. After being convinced of the importance of his mission, Ananias went to Saul and revealed the Lord’s plan for him.

Saul received his sight and immediately arose and was baptized and was filled with the Holy Spirit. Upon being told what he must do, Saul was baptized. Baptism was neither an option nor a choice, but a “must do.”


Jul. 3. Church Scattered, but Grows

Acts 8:1-40

After the death of Stephen, the church began to suffer great persecutions. The believers were scattered from Jerusalem throughout Judea and Samaria. However, the apostles stayed together and remained in Jerusalem. Saul was one of the chief persecutors of the church, dragging both men and women off to prison.

The church in Jerusalem may be compared to a campfire burning peacefully in a forest until a mighty wind (persecution) stirs it. With the scattering of the embers, a mighty forest fire breaks out and the fire spreads uncontrollably. The believers (embers) went everywhere preaching the word of the Lord.

Since the main body of the Jerusalem church was scattered, Philip went into Samaria and preached Christ to them. Many came to be healed and multitudes obeyed the teachings of Philip.

One of those new believers was a sorcerer named Simon. Simon was well known by the people because of his magic tricks and many had said that he was “the great power of God.” He was so impressed by the miracles performed by Philip that he continued to travel with him.

When the apostles heard in Jerusalem about the obedience of the Samaritans, they sent Peter and John to bestow the Holy Spirit upon these disciples. Even though Philip had the power of the Holy Spirit to perform miracles, only the apostles were permitted to pass this power to other people. After all of these people had died, there was no one left who could perform miracles.

These believers had been baptized and had received the gift of the Holy Spirit and were in a saved relationship with God, but had not yet received the Holy Spirit Himself.

The New Testament law had not been written at this time. It was important for the infant church to have a special measure of the Holy Spirit to help them remember the things that they had been taught. Through miracles, they would be able to impress upon others the truth of this new gospel.

After a person is saved, he is still subject to making mistakes. New converts are especially vulnerable to falling into their old habits. Simon was an example of one who sinned after being saved. He wanted to buy the power to pass the Holy Spirit on to others.

Peter pointed this sin out to Simon and instructed him to repent and pray to God for forgiveness. God gives second chances and even more if a person truly repents and prays.

Sometime after the apostles had returned to Jerusalem, an angel instructed Philip to go south of Jerusalem through an isolated area toward Gaza. As Philip traveled toward Gaza, he overtook a man going in the same direction.

This man was a eunuch, the treasurer of the queen of Ethiopia, a country of Africa. The capital of Ethiopia is approximately twelve hundred miles south of Jerusalem. He was a devout man and had been to Jerusalem to worship and was returning home.

Philip was instructed by the Holy Spirit to join the eunuch who was reading the prophet Isaiah. It is likely that the eunuch had heard about Christ while he was in Jerusalem and was trying to learn more from the prophets as he traveled toward home.

When Philip heard what the eunuch was reading, he began at the same Scripture and preached Jesus to him. As they came to some water, the eunuch said, “See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?” The Scripture does not record any of the text of Philip’s lesson, but obviously, the importance of baptism in one’s salvation was taught.

Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.”

Upon the eunuch’s confession, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God,” they both went down into the water and Philip baptized him. If baptism were not a burial, it would not have been necessary for both of them to go down into the water.

The eunuch went away rejoicing in his salvation and the Holy Spirit transported Philip to Azotus where he continued preaching from there to Caesarea.


Jul. 2. Stephen, First Christian Martyr

Acts 6:8-7:60

Stephen, one of the seven began to preach and do many wonders and signs among the people. Some of those who had heard him vigorously opposed his teaching and started plotting to destroy him.

Blasphemy, under the Law of Moses was an offence punishable by death. These Jews accused Stephen of blasphemy and after having him arrested, they set up false witnesses to testify to the Sanhedrin in court that they had heard him speak blasphemous words about Moses, God and the law.

After hearing these charges, the high priest asked Stephen if these things were so. In presenting his defense, he told the story of Christ, the Son of God, beginning at the calling of Abraham.

Stephen proceeded to detail the history of the Jewish people. He started with their father, Abraham who was promised a great nation and was promised that all nations of the earth would be blessed in him.

God renewed this promise to Abraham’s son, Isaac and to Isaac’s son, Jacob.

Stephen recounted the events that led to the four hundred year slavery of the Israelites in Egypt and how Moses was called to lead them to freedom. It was after this release from Egypt that God instituted a law, which became known as the Law of Moses.

Even though the Israelites had seen the miracles God had performed through Moses, they were a complaining group of people. At times, they had refused the leadership of Moses and turned their backs on God and worshipped idols.

Stephen reminded the people that this was the same Moses who had prophesied that, “The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear.”

The temple had been the house of God, but Stephen pointed out that now God does not dwell in temples made with hands.

Stephen charged the Jews with the same behavior that their fathers had committed, but in addition, they had murdered the Just One.

The Sanhedrin was so outraged by the things that Stephen had said that they lost control of themselves. They cast him out of the city and contrary to Roman law, stoned him to death. Under the Roman law, Jews were not permitted to execute capital punishment.

Stephen had a forgiving heart. As he was dying, he prayed, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.”

One of the people present was a young man named Saul. He looked after the clothes of the ones who killed Stephen.


Jul. 1. Church Has Growing Pains

Acts 4:32-6:7

At this point in the beginning of the church, there was great unity of faith, spirit and purpose among the new disciples. Many were long distances from their homes and began to deplete their resources. Those who had possessions sold them in order to share with those who were needy. Among the ones sharing their wealth was a man named Barnabas, who sold his land and brought the money and gave it to the apostles.

Unfortunately, when good works are being performed, there are some who seek the praise of men. These sales of property were voluntary and no one was required to give any certain portion.

Ananias and his wife Sapphira conspired among themselves to sell a possession and keep back part of the price while reporting that they had given all of it to the apostles. They were each struck dead because they had lied to the Holy Spirit about their intentions. This example of the wrath of God brought great fear upon all the church.

The popularity of the church and the apostles continued to spread and many sick people were brought to be healed. Multitudes of believers, both men and women were being added to the Lord. People from surrounding cities also came to be healed.

This was too much for the high priest and the other Sadducees. They saw the vast number of people who believed in the resurrection of Jesus as taught by the apostles. At this time, they put not just Peter and John, but all of the apostles in prison because of their teaching.

The high priest called the council together the next morning and sent for the apostles to be brought to appear before them.

There was a big problem. They were not in the prison. Instead, the apostles were in the temple teaching the people. An angel of the Lord had opened the doors of the prison that night and had brought them out. The guards did not even know they had been released.

When the captain and officers had brought the apostles from the temple to the council, the high priest reminded them that they had been commanded not to teach in this name.

Peter and the other apostles reminded him that they were to obey God instead of men and that God had raised up Jesus from the dead, whom they had murdered.

Gamaliel, one of the council members and also a teacher of the law, called for a private meeting of the council. He mentioned men who had made great claims and had many followers who had been destroyed. Gamaliel reasoned that if these things were of men, they would also come to nothing, but if they were from God, they could not fight against God.

After beating and warning the apostles, the council released them instead of putting them to death. But, “Daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.”

First-century women were not respected very highly socially. They were greatly dependent upon the men in their lives for their care. Widows sometimes became very neglected and poor.

This became evident in the early church. A group of widows of Greek descent were being overlooked in the daily distribution of the common funds that had been raised through the selling of property.

When this was brought to the attention of the apostles, they realized that to oversee this problem and others like it would reduce the amount of time they had to preach the gospel.

As a remedy to this dilemma, the apostles instructed the church to select seven men to care for these material needs of the church. These men had a good reputation among the disciples and also among outsiders of the church. Their lives showed that they were full of the works of the Spirit and were men of wisdom.

The men chosen were Stephen, Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas and Nicolas. The name deacon is not used here, but a careful study reveals the similarity of this work with the work of deacons recorded later in the church.

With this problem solved, the church continued to grow and flourish in Jerusalem and even many of the priests were obedient to the faith.

As we continue through Acts, the apostle Paul to be appointed later, with his writings and struggles will become the main emphasis of our study. Later, we shall study the writings of some of the other inspired authors.


Jun. 30. Church Persecution Begins

Acts 4:1-31

As Peter preached about the resurrected Jesus Christ, the Sadducees, who did not believe in the resurrection from the dead, were greatly disturbed. They, along with chief priests who were also Sadducees, arrested Peter and John and held them in jail until the next day. Peter took this as an opportunity to preach Christ to these Jews also.

Since they recognized the great miracle Peter and John had performed, they decided to release them, but to warn and forbid them from preaching any more in this Name. Peter and John answered, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.”

When Peter and John returned to the other apostles, they prayed—not that the persecution would stop, but that they could speak and perform wonders through the name of Jesus with boldness. God did, in fact, give them the boldness they needed to preach His word in the face of the persecutions that they faced.


Jun. 29. Apostles Perform Miracles and Teach

Acts 3:1-26

As Peter and John went up to the temple at the hour of prayer, they saw a lame man begging. When they stopped to talk with the man, he thought that they were going to give him something. Peter said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.”

The people present recognized the man and were amazed that he was able to walk and leap. When they thought Peter and John were responsible, they ran to them. Peter then explained that this man had been healed by the power of Jesus.

Peter began preaching Jesus to this group of people who had not heard or had not believed his sermon on Pentecost. He pointed out again how that Christ had been prophesied in the Old Testament and how they had refused to accept Him and had killed the “Prince of life.” Many who heard the word believed and their number grew to about five thousand men plus women and children.


Jun. 28. The Promise Kept; Coming of Holy Spirit; Church Established

Jn. 14:25, 26; Acts 2:1-47

On the night that He was betrayed, Jesus had promised the apostles that they would receive a Helper, the Holy Spirit. He would teach them and remind them of the things that Jesus had said to them while He was with them.

Ten days after the ascension of Jesus, on the Day of Pentecost, (the first day of the week or Sunday) the apostles were assembled at the temple. This had been their daily practice since the ascension.

Suddenly there was a great sound, like a mighty wind (like a tornado?), and divided tongues that looked like flames of fire sat upon each of the apostles. They began to speak in foreign languages. The promise of a Helper, the Holy Spirit was being fulfilled as they were being baptized of Him.

Pentecost was one of three feast days required of all Jews under the Law of Moses. On this occasion, there were multitudes of people from many surrounding countries at the temple in Jerusalem. They were startled and amazed that these men from Galilee were speaking in a way that everyone could understand their words.

Peter, as had been promised earlier, with the keys of the kingdom in his hand, began to unlock the doors of that great institution. He explained that this was the fulfillment of the prophet Joel.

At this point, Peter began to preach the greatest gospel sermon ever heard. He introduced Jesus of Nazareth and explained how God had sent Him to live among men and to perform miracles and many other wonders and signs that they might know Him.

Peter reminded them that with lawless hands, they had crucified the Son of God and that He had been raised from the dead. He concluded by stating, “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

This was too much for the people to endure. They had been convicted and convinced of the death of the Son of God. Being cut to the heart, they called out to Peter and to the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?”

Jesus had explained the new birth to Nicodemus many months earlier. These people had heard Peter preach the gospel and they believed that Jesus was indeed the Son of God. They confessed their faith as they asked what to do. Peter replied, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”

Peter’s answer for salvation was different than any answer ever given before. This day was the first day of the Christian dispensation and all spiritual laws prior to this time were fulfilled—nailed to the cross. The law of Christ was now in effect.

Those who obeyed Peter’s command were born again—not a physical birth, but a spiritual birth. The importance of baptism in water was made very clear as these people submitted to the act that Jesus had explained to Nicodemus when He described being born again. As a child is added to a physical family when he is born, a new child of God is added to the spiritual family of God when he experiences the new birth. About three thousand souls were baptized that day and added to them. The church of Christ was established!

These new converts met daily in the temple and from house to house. They were learning and also teaching their friends about their salvation. The church was spreading like a wildfire and the many souls who were being saved were added to the church daily.


Jun. 27. Preparation for Pentecost

Acts 1:1-26

The story of Jesus did not end at the cross. He had promised Peter and the other apostles a year earlier that He would build His church and would give the keys of the kingdom to Peter.

Jesus appeared to the apostles several times during the forty days following His resurrection from the dead. He assembled one last time with them and instructed them to wait for the baptism of the Holy Spirit, which would occur “not many days from now.”

The apostles were still thinking that Jesus was going to restore the kingdom of David to Israel. They asked Him, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?”

Jesus reminded them again of their mission. “It is not for you to know the times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. 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.”

At this point, Jesus lifted up His hands and blessed the apostles and was taken up. A cloud took Him out of their sight.

While the apostles were still looking up, two men in white apparel (angels) stood by them and stated, “This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.” The Scriptures also teach elsewhere that Jesus will indeed descend and we will meet Him in the clouds.

The apostles returned to Jerusalem from Mount Olivet and remained in the upper room, probably the same place where they had eaten the Passover Feast forty-four days earlier. While there, they worshipped and praised God in the temple.

There were about a hundred and twenty disciples, who met together. Along with the apostles were Mary, the mother of Jesus, other women, His brothers and other disciples.

Peter suggested the need to select another apostle to take the place of Judas, who had betrayed Jesus and killed himself. Justus and Matthias were discussed. Through a period of prayer and casting of lots, Matthias was chosen as the new twelfth apostle. Matthias had been with them since the beginning and had witnessed the resurrection of Jesus also.


Jun. 26. The Last Appearance and Ascension of Jesus

Mk. 16:19, 20; Lk. 24:50-53; Acts 1:4-9

During His last appearance with His apostles, Jesus led them to Mount Olivet, which was at Bethany, just outside of Jerusalem. As they were assembled together, He commanded them to remain in Jerusalem until they had received the Promise of the Father.

The apostles had been informed of this Promise six weeks earlier as Jesus spoke to them the night before His death. At this time, He said, “For John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

As Jesus was giving His final parting words, the apostles were still confused about His kingdom. They, like the other Jews had expected the Messiah to establish an earthly kingdom and that had not happened, so they asked, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?”

Jesus reminded the apostles of their mission by replying, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. 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.”

Immediately before ascending, Jesus raised His hands and blessed the apostles. He was then taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. The last they saw of Jesus, He was blessing them.

While the apostles were still looking up, two men in white apparel (angels) stood by them and stated, “This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.” Scriptures elsewhere teach that Jesus will indeed descend and we will meet Him in the clouds.

The apostles returned to Jerusalem with great joy and were continually in the temple praising and blessing God. Jesus returned to the right hand of God where He is sitting now.

Not all of the things that Jesus did and said are recorded in the Scriptures. “But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.” (Jn. 20:31)

We have concluded our journey through the Gospels and the study of the life of Christ as recorded by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. This journey has led us to the beginning of the Christian Age with the establishment of His church that He purchased with his blood on the cross.

We shall now continue our chronological journey with His apostles as they struggled to carry out His plan AND learn how all of this applies to us today.


Jun. 25. Other Appearances of Jesus

Lk. 24:44-49; I Cor. 15:5-8; Acts 1:3

Jesus presented Himself many times during the forty days He remained after His resurrection. On one of those occasions, He pointed out that the events that had occurred, were necessary to fulfill the things written in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Him—that it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. Later, he appeared before Saul, who became the apostle, Paul.


Jun. 24. Jesus Gives the Great Commission on a Mountain in Galilee During His Eighth Appearance

Mt. 28:16-20; Mk. 16:15-18

When Jesus made His eighth appearance after His resurrection, He met with the eleven apostles on a mountain in Galilee. There were others present and some of them were not convinced that He had actually risen from the dead.

Even though others were present, Jesus delivered His message (The Great Commission) to the apostles only. He said, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

The apostles were promised the ability to cast out demons and to perform other signs and miracles. These abilities were given to them to show that they were indeed speaking for God. The only persons recorded doing these signs were the apostles and those to whom they had passed this power.

In order to assure that the gospel would continue to be preached, Jesus instructed the apostles to teach the new disciples to observe all of the things that He had taught them. This would make a perpetual discipleship until the end of the age.

Jesus did not specify the method of reaching all nations, but there are numerous ways to accomplish this mission. Some can leave home and go into a mission field. Others can help support those who do go away. Preaching and teaching Bible classes are ways to “go” in a local sense. There are some individuals who are able to write aids for studying the Scriptures. Almost everyone can contact his neighbors either in person, by telephone or by mail. Facebook, email and other social media are excellent methods also.