Receiving Our Mission Orders

In the military you can do nothing without orders. You can’t travel. You can’t move into a home. You can’t get your children in school. Your spouse may not even be able to get a job! You’d be pretty aimless without orders.

But with your orders you have direction. You have empowerment. You have assurances.

When Jesus was with his disciples during the last days of his earthly ministry he gave his disciples some powerful mission orders. And with his orders he gave powerful assurances that they would have all the power required to carry them out.

And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:4–8, ESV)

Jesus gave his disciples two orders.

(1) “not to depart from Jerusalem.” The other Gospels tell us how the disciples began to travel back to Galilee. Some of them even went back to their old fishing jobs. But Jesus had other plans for them. His plan was that they continue to do what he called them to do. There is no greater order for a disciple to carry out than to do what his master called him to do. There is no place for inserting our own agenda into his mission orders.

(2) “wait for the promise of the Father.” What was the promise? Jesus told them it was the Holy Spirit, the divine presence that would be with them always. Without the Holy Spirit they would be powerless. What does it look like to wait for the Holy Spirit? Later in the story Luke tells us that they “with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer” (1:14). If we are to receive the power of the Holy Spirit we, too, must be united in prayer.

Jesus final words to his disciples are actually given as a promise.

(1) “you will receive power.” Power was the very thing required if the disciples were to carry out Jesus’ orders. No plan or agenda of theirs would have succeeded in accomplishing Jesus’ mission orders without the Holy Spirit. The most motivated and mobilized and strategized disciple is powerless without a mighty work of God. That is exactly what the disciples needed. Jesus promised them power, and the rest of the book of Acts confirms that they received it!

(2) “you will be my witnesses.” When we harmonize this verse with the Great Commission of Matthew 28:18-20, we may think of it solely as a command. But really it’s part of Jesus’ promise to his disciples. “You will be my witnesses.” The disciples were going to be witnesses of Jesus. That was a guarantee. They were going to be faithful witnesses or unfaithful. They were going to boldly proclaim the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, and then call others to repentance and forgiveness (see Luke 24:46-48), or they were not.

The orders and promises of Jesus ring true for us, as well. Will we forsake our own agenda and be committed to his call on our lives as disciples? Will we begin among our own people, those in our own families and neighborhoods? Will we prayerfully depend on the power of the Holy Spirit to accomplish the mission? Will we be a faithful witness to all Jesus did and said? We have received our mission orders. Are we willing to obey?

 

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Week 22 Bible Readings

New Testament

27 May:  Acts 24

28 May:  Acts 25

29 May:  Acts 26:1-27:13

30 May:  Acts 27:14-44

31 May:  Acts 28

1 June:  Romans 1:1-15

2 June:  Romans 1:16-32

Old Testament

27 May:  Isaiah 11, 12, 13

28 May:  Isaiah 14, 15, 16

29 May:  Isaiah 17, 18, 19

30 May:  Isaiah 20, 21, 22

31 May:  Isaiah 23, 24, 25

1 June:  Isaiah 26, 27

2 June:  Isaiah 28, 29

Week 21 Bible Readings

New Testament

20 May:  Acts 17:16-34

21 May:  Acts 18:1-19:10

22 May:  Acts 19:11-41

23 May:  Acts 20

24 May:  Acts 21

25 May:  Acts 22

26 May:  Acts 23

Old Testament

20 May:  Numbers 31, 32, 33

21 May:  Numbers 34, 35, 36

22 May:  Isaiah 1, 2

23 May:  Isaiah 3, 4

24 May:  Isaiah 5, 6

25 May:  Isaiah 7, 8

26 May:  Isaiah 9, 10

Week 20 Bible Readings

New Testament

13 May:  Acts 11:19-12:19

14 May:  Acts 12:20-13:18

15 May:  Acts 13:19-52

16 May:  Acts 14

17 May:  Acts 15

18 May:  Acts 16:1-30

19 May:  Acts 16:31-17:15

Old Testament

13 May:  Numbers 12, 13, 14

14 May:  Numbers 15, 16

15 May:  Numbers 17, 18, 19

16 May:  Numbers 20, 21, 22

17 May:  Numbers 23, 24, 25

18 May:  Numbers 26, 27

19 May:  Numbers 28, 29, 30

Week 19 Bible Readings

New Testament

6 May:  Acts 6

7 May:  Acts 7:1-53

8 May:  Acts 7:54-8:24

9 May:  Acts 8:25-9:19

10 May:  Acts 9:20-43

11 May:  Acts 10:1-33

12 May:  Acts 10:34-11:18

Old Testament

6 May:  Song of Solomon 4, 5

7 May:  Song of Solomon 6, 7, 8

8 May:  Numbers 1, 2

9 May:  Numbers 3, 4

10 May:  Numbers 5, 6

11 May:  Numbers 7, 8

12 May:  Numbers 9, 10, 11

Week 18 Bible Readings

New Testament

29 April:  John 20

30 April:  John 21

1 May:  Acts 1

2 May:  Acts 2:1-36

3 May:  Acts 2:37-3:26

4 May:  Acts 4

5 May:  Acts 5

Old Testament

29 April:  Leviticus 17, 18

30 April:  Leviticus 19, 20

1 May:  Leviticus 21, 22

2 May:  Leviticus 23, 24

3 May:  Leviticus 25

4 May:  Leviticus 26, 27

5 May:  Song of Solomon 1, 2, 3

Week 32 Readings

August 6:  Judges 20; Acts 24 (family); Jeremiah 34; Psalm 5, 6 (individual)

August 7:  Judges 21; Acts 25 (family); Jeremiah 35; Psalm 7, 8 (individual)

August 8:  Ruth 1; Acts 26 (family); Jeremiah 36, 45; Psalm 9 (individual)

August 9:  Ruth 2; Acts 27 (family); Jeremiah 37; Psalm 10 (individual)

August 10:  Ruth 3, 4; Acts 28 (family); Jeremiah 38; Psalm 11, 12 (individual)

August 11:  1 Samuel 1; Romans 1 (family); Jeremiah 39; Psalm 13, 14 (individual)

August 12:  1 Samuel 2; Romans 2 (family); Jeremiah 40; Psalm 15, 16 (individual)

Week 31 Readings

July 30:  Judges 13; Acts 17 (family); Jeremiah 26; Mark 12 (individual)

July 31:  Judges 14; Acts 18 (family); Jeremiah 27; Mark 13 (individual)

August 1:  Judges 15; Acts 19 (family); Jeremiah 28; Mark 14 (individual)

August 2:  Judges 16; Acts 20 (family); Jeremiah 29; Mark 15 (individual)

August 3:  Judges 17; Acts 21 (family); Jeremiah 30, 31; Mark 16 (individual)

August 4:  Judges 18; Acts 22 (family); Jeremiah 32; Psalm 1, 2 (individual)

August 5:  Judges 19; Acts 23 (family); Jeremiah 33; Psalm 3, 4 (individual)

Week 30 Readings

July 23:  Judges 6; Acts 10 (family); Jeremiah 19; Mark 5 (individual)

July 24:  Judges 7; Acts 11 (family); Jeremiah 20; Mark 6 (individual)

July 25:  Judges 8; Acts 12 (family); Jeremiah 21; Mark 7 (individual)

July 26:  Judges 9; Acts 13 (family); Jeremiah 22; Mark 8 (individual)

July 27:  Judges 10; Acts 14 (family); Jeremiah 23; Mark 9 (individual)

July 28:  Judges 11; Acts 15 (family); Jeremiah 24; Mark 10 (individual)

July 29:  Judges 12; Acts 16 (family); Jeremiah 25; Mark 11 (individual)