‘Relying on the real hero of Acts’ (Acts 1:1-11, Ryan Smith)

We currently live in a super-hero obsessed culture and it can often affect the way we think about sharing the message of Jesus. We can fall into the trap of thinking the apostles are like ‘super-Christians’ and sharing Jesus is for other ‘super-Christians’, [pastors, trained-evangelists, extroverts, people gifted in talking and sharing]. We often think “I’m ordinary, I’m unimpressive, I’m unequipped, I can’t do it, Jesus can’t be expecting anything from me”. But according to Acts 1:1-11, Jesus is the real hero of the book of Acts. We don’t need to be super or a hero, but just need to be used by Him.

‘Saved to serve the King’ (Luke 19, Rev Peter Phillips)

Jesus tells a parable in Luke 19 and perhaps we didn’t notice the context. He tells the story to highlight his mission to “seek and save the lost”. It connects with Zacchaeus’ conversion, Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem and how the people didn’t understand his mission or have him as king. We read of a present saviour and a coming judge. Will we serve him as king?

‘Resurrection’ (John 20, Rev Peter Phillips)

The resurrection is central to Christianity. Without it our faith in futile (1 Corinthians 15:17-18) and we have no hope (1 Peter 1:3). Reason says that dead people don’t rise but that was known in the first century AD as well as now. Scripture records the careful eyewitness of such a surprising event and even 50 days afterward (Pentecost, Acts 2) there was already a debate about the resurrection! It was testified so that you may “believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead” (Romans 10:9). “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29).

‘The events of a terrible night’ (Luke 22:54-71)

The lead up to the cross in Luke’s gospel, especially in Luke 22:54-71 is stark and tragic. From the courtyard where Peter sat by the fire and there denied his Master, to the courtroom where the religious leaders of the day denied their own Messiah, the story is full of irony and tragedy. And yet as Isaiah once prophesied, ‘It was the will of the Lord to bruise him’. It was all in God’s plan of course, that His people might be saved. His loss, our gain.

‘The depths of an awful moment’ (Luke 22:39-53)

After describing the events in the Upper Room, the text of Luke 22:39-53 take us to the holy ground of the garden of Gethsemane. There, Jesus wrestled with the enormity of what it was that the Father was asking Him to do and submitted Himself to the Father’s will even though it would come at great cost.  Why did He go through with it? Because He loved His Father, leaving us to ponder an important question about our love for God and our desire to see His will being done.