Matt. 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, Acts 1-2, John 20-21
Yep, you read that right, after a most glorious and refreshing and renewing walk through the gospels, we're headed into Acts. Acts of the apostles...acts of the early church...I love acts, because it's the beginning of a story that I feel like I'm a part of! Plus, I just enjoy Luke's detail-oriented style.
So fasten your seatbelts, it'll be quite a ride through Acts, as the gospels end with Jesus' instructions to His apostles to go to Jerusalem and wait. Yes, they are to preach the gospel to the world, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey all that He has commanded them. But first they must wait for Power to descend upon them from heaven.
So that's where the gospel stories leave us. I do love how John ends his gospel, though, by pointing out that what we have written here about Jesus is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.
"Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written...Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name."
The apostles followed Jesus' instructions, waiting in Jerusalem for His Spirit to descend upon them in power. When this happens, the apostles are able to speak in the languages of all the people present, as Peter is the first to proclaim the good news that "God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ."
Wait a second, that doesn't sound good, if you're the one who crucified Him! Indeed, the people were cut to the heart by this message. "What shall we do?" they asked. Peter's response?
"Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off--for all whom the Lord our God will call."
Ah...there's the good news!