Jesus Is Still at Work

Jesus Is Still at Work

I love reading the Gospels. It’s comforting to see Jesus demonstrate kindness to the outcasts. And it’s compelling to listen to His teachings. 

 

Sometimes, though, a little sadness creeps up in me as I read the Gospels. I find myself wishing I could have witnessed so many of these moments firsthand. And then I catch myself making a statement along the lines of: 

 

“If only people today could see Jesus at work, then they’d believe in Him!” 

 

But almost as soon as that thought pops into my mind, I remember that it comes with at least two incorrect assumptions. 

 

The first problem with that statement is the mistaken assumption that the unbelieving friend, co-worker, or relative we’ve been praying for would suddenly place their faith in Jesus if He were to come and stand before them. But that wasn’t even the case during Jesus’s time on earth! Certainly some people reacted this way. But others responded to Him with indifference, mockery, and hostility. Even in the Old Testament, after the Israelites witnessed God part the Red Sea and heard Him speak the Ten Commandments, they rebelled against Him. Seeing does not necessarily equal believing, and therefore Jesus’s current physical absence from us is not a barrier to belief.  

 

Jesus’s physical absence is not a barrier to belief | TDGC

Here’s the second problem with that statement: people today can see Jesus at work, and they do. 

 

To illustrate this, consider the opening words of the Book of Acts: “I wrote the first narrative, Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach until the day he was taken up…” (Acts 1:1–2a). This is Luke writing, and the “first narrative” he’s referring to is the Gospel of Luke. While we might be tempted to breeze past these opening words, doing so would risk overlooking that word “began.” 

 

It’s an interesting word choice, because the account of Jesus’s life in the Gospel of Luke seems comprehensive. In addition to covering His three years of ministry, Luke thoroughly recounts Jesus’s birth and the events leading up to it. He’s the only Gospel writer to include a scene of Jesus as an adolescent. And He spends much more time than Matthew or Mark do on Jesus’s appearances after His resurrection. Yet all of this—from Jesus’s miraculous conception to His ascension to heaven—is, according to Luke, what Jesus began to do. 

 

The implication here is that the Book of Acts is about what Jesus continued to do. But how can Jesus continue to work if He’s not on earth anymore? Acts 1–2 tell us: through the Holy Spirit. After Jesus ascends to heaven, He sends the Holy Spirit, who enables Jesus’s followers to be His witnesses “to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). In the words of John Stott, these two books are thus “two stages of the ministry of the same Christ…Jesus’s ministry on earth, exercised personally and publicly, was followed by his ministry from heaven, exercised through his Holy Spirit by his apostles” (Stott, 32). 

The book of Acts is about what Jesus continued to do after His ascension | TDGC

 

As Christians today, we too have the Holy Spirit dwelling in us (Romans 8:9, 1 Corinthians 12:13). And we have the same mission of being Jesus’s witnesses and making disciples of all nations (Acts 1:8, Matthew 28:18–20). And this means that Jesus is still at work today, and He works through you. Through me. Through His Church. People today can still see Jesus demonstrate kindness to the outcasts as we do. They can listen to His teachings as we share them. 

 

Jesus still works today through us | TDGC

And as Jesus works through us in the world today, we too will be met with indifference, mockery, and hostility from some. But from others, we will be met with belief. In Acts, Jesus worked through His followers to spread the gospel beyond the borders of Israel to the other nations. And He is still doing this today. He is still at work. As others see us witness to Jesus, they see Jesus at work.  

 

Additional Resources:

Bibliography:

Stott, John R.W. The Message of Acts. The Bible Speaks Today. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1990. 

 

 

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