As a believer and a pastor-to-be; I have been plagued with this question, "What makes you feel equipped to carry out Jesus' ministry on earth?" This is a big question, because your answer reveals a lot about yourself. If deep down you feel that you are equipped because you are gifted, smart, intelligent, or you have some other natural characteristic that has equipped you, than most likely you are driven from pride or arrogance that in the end will kill your personal ministry. Jesus is responsible for building his church, not our giftedness. I didn't always think this way, it probably wasn't until about 1 1/2 years ago that God began to put me around people who saw my gifts and realized that I relied on my own talents and not the Holy Spirit which is literally God inside us.
Lets dive into Acts 1:1-5 and learn more about this.
In what ways did Jesus prep and equip his apostles to continue his ministry and life on earth? The first thing to notice is that Christ was clear to go and wait for the Holy Spirit before beginning the process of carrying out the mission of God. This is vital to us today. How many pastors or Christians do we know today who have very little Holy Spirit power or authority when they speak or begin to carry out the mission of God. It is most necessary that we are spending time in prayer and solitude, waiting for the Holy Spirit to come upon us in order to continue Christ's ministry. Over the course of the last three years of Christs life, he walked, talked, taught, and modeled a Spirit filled life to the apostles. This was part of him prepping his people to carry out his mission.
So, if this text is true, we have to ask the question; "what is the significance of the fact that Jesus showed himself to the apostles and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive?" In the text we learn that Jesus presented himself alive to the apostles and many others after his sufferings and death. This is key to the Christian faith. Without the resurrection of Christ we do not have Christianity. Like Paul says, "if Christ did not rise from the dead, than there is no gospel (good news) because we are still stuck in our sin and have no atonement." Christ rose to claim victory over death, sin, and Satan. He then promises to send us the same Holy Spirit that rose him in order that we may one day rise in defeat of death. Christ showing himself alive builds our confidence in the fact that we serve a God who is alive and well and promises to never leave us or forsake us. In scripture, Christ promises that as we go to fulfill the mission of God, he will not only be with us as we go, but he has also gone ahead of us. We need to remember the resurrection as we engage people at work, on airplanes, in restaurants, as we preach, as we lead our families. Everything hinges on the resurrection.
Lets think through this thought together; How would the apostles ministry be affected by the fact that Jesus chose, commissioned, and instructed them? How will our lives be affected if we believe the same about ourselves? I cant even imagine what it would be like to have a moment with Christ like these apostles had. Can you imagine Christ showing up at your house and telling you that you are responsible for taking his message to your city and beyond? A real life encounter with the living Christ.....God, I want that. Imagine the confidence and brotherhood that these apostles would have had. Imagine the desire that they would have to carry out the mission with Christ. I couldn't think of anything that could stop them. Not sufferings, persecutions, not even death itself would have the power to get in the way of them carrying out the mission. Paul put it like this when thinking about his personal encounter and walk with Christ, "to live is Christ and to die is gain." These are the type of crazy things we say when we believe that we have encountered the living Messiah, Christ the Lord. I am begging God to have an encounter with him like this.