Read Acts 1 -- 3
In Today’s Reading:
Ascension of Christ; promise of the Lord's return; Matthias chosen to replace Judas; coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost; Peter's sermon; unity of the believers; healing of a lame man at the Temple gate.
The Feast of Unleavened Bread portrayed the sinless Savior and was celebrated in conjunction with the Passover. The lamb without blemish also portrayed Jesus, the perfect Lamb of God. The Passover commemorated the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and illustrated the believer who is freed from sin to walk by faith.
The next feast was 50 days later called the Feast of Firstfruits (Exodus 23:16). After the miracle in the Upper Room this feast would become known to Christians as Pentecost. On that day, being filled with the Holy Spirit and quoting the prophetic Scriptures (Joel 2:28-32; Psalms 16:8-11; 41:9; 109:8), Peter boldly proclaimed that God has made that same Jesus, whom you have crucified, both Lord and Christ (Acts 2:36). Then the crowd said to Peter: Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said to them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the Name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise (of the Holy Spirit) is to you, and to your children, and to all that are far off (future generations of Jews and Gentiles), even as many as the Lord our God shall call. . . . Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added to them about three thousand souls (Acts 2:37-39,41).
The required offering to the Lord on Pentecost consisted of two loaves of leavened bread (Leviticus 23:17). The two loaves represented both Jewish and Gentile believers and must include leaven, which symbolizes sin because everyone except Jesus has sinned.
The two loaves of bread consisted of ground grain mixed with oil and leaven and then baked in an oven. The separate identities of the grains were now consolidated into a oneness, symbolic of believers who have forsaken the world to lose their individual identities in Christ. One of the two loaves offered on the Day of Pentecost represented the Jewish believers. Later, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit also came upon the Gentiles at the house of Cornelius and the confirmation was again fulfilled. While Peter was speaking, the Holy Spirit fell on all that heard the Word. And they of the circumcision (the Jews) which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 10:44-45).
It was the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the lives of these new believers that changed timid followers into fearless and effective witnesses of Christ (Philippians 3:10). They that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the Word (Acts 8:4), and the critics of the Word said: [They] have turned the world upside down (17:6). The Apostle Paul later declared: There is neither Jew nor Greek (Gentile) . . . for you are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28).
Thought for Today: Everyone can do something to help others come to know the Lord.
1:3 after His passion = after He had suffered death; 1:12 a sabbath day's journey = a little over one-half mile which was the extent a Jew was to travel from home on the Sabbath; 2:27 leave my soul in hell = forsake me in the grave (Sheol).
For Acts 1:20: See Psa. 69:25; 109:8. Acts 2:17-21: See Joel 2:28-32. Acts 2:25-28: See Psa. 16:8-11. Acts 2:34-35: See Psa. 110:1. Acts 3:22-23: See Deut. 18:15,18-19. Acts 3:25: See Gen. 12:3; 22:18.
Government Officials: Rep. Sherrod Brown (OH) and Sen. Bob Graham (FL) · Pray for your Sunday School teacher · Country: Chile (15 million) on the southwestern coast of South America · Major language: Spanish · Religious freedom · 63% Roman Catholic; 23% Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Remember that nothing is too hard for the Lord (Genesis 18:14).
Memory Verse for the Week: John 10:5