Series: The New Humanity
Preacher: Japhet De Oliveira
Reflection: Tim Gillespie
Live Wonder: Verity Were
Live Adventure: Zan Long
Live Beyond: Moe Stiles
Live Purpose: Vanessa Rivera
Editor: Becky De Oliveira
Refresh: Begin with prayer. Ask for the Holy Spirit to open your heart to new understanding and for God’s character to be revealed.
Read: Acts 2:14-21 in the New Testament for Everyone (NTE). Note 1–3 insights or questions.
Reflect: So what is a new humanity? It is a humanity that is fully connected. Fully connected to God, to one another, fully connected to our reality. The ancient Hebrews and the Jews today encapsulate this concept in the idea of shalom. That is to be at peace with those around us, with God, and even with the environment. One theme that comes out of this is the idea that Israel was a nation of dreamers, at their best times. They dreamed of the way their nation could be, hoped to be, and sometimes even worked to be. While it rarely worked out very well for them, this concept of connection kept them dreaming about the way things can be.
Then Jesus showed up on the scene, and He was the best expression of humanity that anyone had ever seen. Why? Because there had never been another person who was so connected to God, to His fellow man, and even to the earth—I mean, the wind and the waves did listen to Him when He asked them to be still. Never before, since Adam and Eve in the garden, had there been a human being with such deep connections in all directions.
So if Jesus is creating the new humanity, it means that in every interaction we have with Jesus something new is being made. A new us! Truthfully, we are not new Adams, but we are new atoms! Even our DNA is subject to the transformation that happens at the hands of a powerful and risen Savior.
And Jesus could dream. In fact, in every one of the “Kingdom of Heaven is like” statements, He dreamed of what the world—our world—could be. “On earth, as it is in heaven” is a statement of incredible hope; that the way things are in heaven might be mirrored right here on earth is a dreamer’s statement. It is a statement that things down here, in all the chaos and sickness and mourning, can turn around and be as they are in heaven.
We often think that this will happen at just the end of time, but perhaps Jesus is telling us to dream of what the Kingdom might look like down here. Perhaps our job is to work hard to see that resemblance take place in our own lives and the lives of those around us.
Recalibrate: When do you feel the most connected to those around you? To God? To the world around you?
Respond: When you figure out the answers to the questions above, do those things more! That sounds silly, but simply, it is true. The more we lean into the things that make us whole and connect us, the more we are the new humanity, reflecting Jesus!
Research: Take some time today to pray for more connectedness to those around you. Maybe this means putting down your devices a bit more and looking at the eyes of those around you. Take a quick media fast, and commit to keeping your phones down when someone is talking to you; it will be amazing to see how they respond.
Remember: “Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your old men will dream dreams. Your young men will see visions” (Acts 2:17, ICB).
Dr. Timothy Gillespie is lead pastor of Crosswalk Church in Redlands, CA. He also teaches at several universities and consults on mission integration for Adventist Health.
Take an ice cube from the freezer. Let your child feel it and play with it, maybe even eat it if it’s a hot day. Talk about how the ice cube started hard and cold. As it melts, the ice becomes water—it’s liquid, it spreads, it becomes warmer. That’s just how we are when God comes into our hearts. We spread the love of God; we become warm and help quench others’ thirst for a loving God.
Find some pencils or crayons and write or draw. Notice how the colors go wherever you move them. Dream of what it would be like to be a crayon in the hand of Jesus. If I were a crayon for Jesus what would He draw with me? Create something beautiful and good and kind with your words and actions today.
I have grown up in the community of faith, meaning that I have grown up learning about God. I have attended “church” gatherings all my life, and now I am a pastor, privileged to be in a position to facilitate all things Jesus, things infused with His heart for humanity. One of the greatest things I have come to know about God is that He is for all people! He created both male and female in His image. In the passage for this week, we are told that “sons and daughters will prophesy.” You know how exciting it is to think that God can use anyone and everyone who is willing to be used by Him to share His goodness and love to make our world a better place? Yesterday I talked about the prophecy about Jesus shared some 500 or so years before it actually happened. Do you know why it was important that the people were given such a prophecy? Here’s one of my thoughts on the matter: Hope is such a great thing that by giving people a prophetic word on a day that is coming when a Messiah will come to restore all that is of God, people began to hope for a better day and a better world. By God calling everyone and anyone back to Him, He places these dreams and prophetic words into their beings to speak hope into the future of our world. We become the bearers of Good News to a world that is in need of Good News. There’s so much hurt and pain—our world needs to hear and see hopeful messages not only in words but in action, and it takes both “sons and daughters.” Have you ever wondered if God could use you? Has this text encouraged you and given you hope that no matter where you are from, or who you are, as a believer in Jesus, He can actually use you to bring hope? How good is God!
Have you ever tried to convince someone of something that you know to be true? I remember the day my older sister told my family that she saw Usher, an R & B singer, at the grocery store. None of us believed her. We did live about an hour away from Atlanta, GA, where he was living at the time, but we didn’t believe her. My younger sister and I asked her many follow up questions; however, we were not convinced she really saw him. She said multiple people agreed that it was him but we thought it just couldn’t be true. To this day, my sister and I always smirk when my older sister reminds us of how she saw Usher. It can be hard to convince people about something when you don’t have the evidence.
This text describes Peter, one of Jesus’ disciples, preaching to a crowd after Jesus had died, risen from the grave, and ascended to heaven. In fancy theological terms, Peter was participating in Christian apologetics. That sounds like he’s apologizing for Christianity but that’s not quite what it means. Apologetics is explaining all the reasons why something in religion is true and defending it when others argue against it. Peter wasn’t just trying to convince his younger sisters; he was trying to convince the world. What is something you think is true and will defend strongly? How do you currently defend Christianity? Do you know enough to make a strong argument?
Verity Were is a registered nurse at the largest pediatric intensive care unit in Sydney, Australia. She attends Kellyville Adventist church with her husband and two toddlers.
Zan Long is GRC director for faith development for ages 0-17. She lives in Sydney, Australia, and serves at her local church in nearby Kellyville.
Moe Stiles is lead pastor at Oasis Church in Vancouver, WA. She is married to Adrian and is mother to Caleb and Johnny.
Vanessa Rivera is a therapist at a community mental health center in Denver, CO, and serves as the faith engagement pastor at Boulder Church.