The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: to whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: and, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.
In this portion of scripture, we see how long Jesus spent with His disciples before He ascended back to the Father. During those 40 days, Jesus gave the disciples everything they would need to preach and practice in the church. Everything we need in worship in the 21st century is what He set up in the 1st century!
Also, Jesus reminded the disciples that He promised to send the Holy Ghost ,Who would teach them what they should teach to others and what they should practice in the church.
Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me. These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
This reference from the Gospel of John tells us that Jesus’ words in the gospels are important to remember but so are the words of all the New Testament writers. The New Testament writers were all inspired by the Holy Spirit to write. That means the entire New Testament is God’s word. In what ever way Paul, Peter, and James interpreted Jesus’ teachings in their writings is what Jesus meant when He taught it. We are not at liberty to have our own private interpretation. The Holy Ghost helped us by having some of the disciples explain exactly what Jesus meant.
As Jesus met with His disciples this one last time, He gave them two very specific instructions. These were specific to the disciples, but perhaps they apply to us as well!
First of all, Jesus told them to not leave Jerusalem. He had work for them to do right where they were. We need not look beyond our own home for the work that God has for us to do. Our family, school, workplace, or neighborhood may be the very place where God intends for us to be a blessing. There is a field white unto harvest right where you are! Many have a righteous desire to help others but believe they need to go around the world to do so. That may be God’s calling for you. But, if we have not been a blessing to those around us at home, can we honestly say that we will be blessing to people we have never met?
Secondly, Jesus says to wait on the Holy Ghost. We may have ideas about what God intends for us to do, but we should not rely simply on our feelings or desires. We should be in the word of God daily and have a life full of prayer. God is not going to lead us in a direction that is not supported by Biblical doctrine and precedent. Furthermore, even if we are doing the will of God according to scripture, it may not be the right time yet. If we get ahead of God, we may miss out on the amazing way He will bless our efforts.
Here is the discipleship principle I am trying to learn and practice – Be a blessing each day to whomever crosses my path. If the Lord intends for me to go beyond my current circle, He will show me when and where to go. Until then, I am to enjoy the blessings of God with others right here at home.