Daily Bible Studies & Sermon Notes

Acts 1:4-5
Pastor Steve Schell
Sunday: Acts 1:4
v4: Luke turns to the conversation Jesus had with His disciples prior to His ascension, which took place on the fortieth day after the resurrection. He described these same events at the end of his gospel, but here adds further information. The verse opens with a very unusual word which either means to gather together a large group of people, or to eat together. When we read the account in his gospel we see both meanings apply. A large number of people were present because the gathering was composed of “the eleven and those who were with them” (Lk 24:33). This sounds like the same group mentioned later in Acts (Ac 1:13-15) which totaled about 120 persons. When Jesus appeared in their midst we also know that at least He ate broiled fish (Lk 24:41-43).

Monday: Acts 1:4, 5
vs4-5: During that meeting Jesus commanded His disciples to remain in Jerusalem and wait for the “promise of the Father.” He said this was a promise He had told them about earlier (Lk 22:20; 24:49; Jn 14-16). So no one would mistake which one, He explained what would happen when it arrived. He reminded them of how John the Baptist had immersed people in water and said, in a similar way, they would soon be immersed in the Holy Spirit. That baptism actually arrived ten days later, on Pentecost (Ac 2:1).

Tuesday: Acts 1:4, 5
vs4-5 (continued): John the Baptist had already compared the coming of the Spirit with water baptism. Speaking of the coming Messiah he said, “As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me… will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire” (Mt 3:11). The “fire” to which he refers is God’s coming judgment, but he also said the Messiah would baptize (dip, immerse) the righteous with the Holy Spirit (Jn 1:33). The preposition used here with the word “baptize” (en) essentially means “within,” it pictures something inside of something else. We need only reflect on the image of baptism to determine what Jesus is saying.

Wednesday: Acts 1:4, 5
vs4-5 (continued): John the Baptist immersed (submerged) people, or had them immerse themselves under water in the manner of the Jewish ritual bath. The ritual bath was a common activity among observant Jews. It was performed either in a place with a natural body of fresh water, such as a lake or stream, or in a “mikvah,” which was a special tank of water containing at least 85 gallons of water located in homes or near religious sites. The bath was meant to cleanse people physically and spiritually in order to prepare them to approach God in worship. In a mikvah, a person would walk down a series of steps into the water, totally immerse themselves under water and then walk back up the steps on the “clean” side of the stairway (Vamosh, Miriam Feinberg, Daily Life at the Time of Jesus, Palphot Ltd., PO Box 2, Herzlia, Israel, pp 26-27).

Thursday: Acts 1:4, 5
vs4-5 (continued): This was the symbolism John the Baptist used when he baptized. He was saying to the people of Israel, “You must deeply repent of your rebellion to God and be cleansed. The Messiah is coming soon, and if He finds you in this condition He will bring upon you God’s fiery judgment” (Lk 3:1-18, Ac 13:24; 19:3, 4). By being baptized they were asking God to wash away their sins. Jesus took the meaning of baptism even deeper by describing it as a burial (Mk 10:38, 39; Lk 12:49, 50). To Him the water represented a watery grave. This may well have been what was in His mind when He insisted John baptize Him at the Jordan River (Mt 3:13-17). And this is the meaning that became central to Paul. A repentant person didn’t merely “wash,” they died with Christ and then rose with Him to live a new life of obedience by the power of the Spirit (Ro 6:3-5).

Friday: Acts 1:4, 5
vs4-5 (continued): There is one more biblical truth we need to remember in order to properly understand what Jesus means when He speaks of being “baptized into the Holy Spirit.” The prophets repeatedly declared that when the Messiah came He would bring with Him a world-wide presence of the Holy Spirit. The entire planet would be dramatically changed. Five times in the Old Testament it is prophesied that “the earth will be filled with the glory of the Lord” (Nu 14; Ps 72:19; Isa 6:3; 11:9; Hab 2:14), and many other passages describe the coming of the Spirit using different imagery (e.g. Jer 31:34; Ezk 36:26, 27; 37:9, 10, 14; 47:1-12; Joel 2:28, 29; 3:18; Zech 14:8-11). Isaiah says “the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea,” (Isa 11:9). He pictures the planet immersed (baptized) in the glorious presence of the Holy Spirit. This must certainly be the basic idea behind the statements by John the Baptist and Jesus. Both are saying Jesus will bring that promised era of the Spirit which is exactly why Peter quoted from Joel (Ac 2:14-21; Joel 2:28-32) to explain what had happened on the day of Pentecost.

Saturday: Acts 1:4, 5
vs4-5 (continued): He was declaring that this era of the Spirit had arrived, but not in the way it had traditionally been expected. Instead of a world-wide outpouring, the Spirit was only coming upon (and within) those individuals who repent and are baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sins (Ac 2:38, 39). The day of Pentecost revealed a mystery. The Messiah must come in two separate events rather than one: first, as our Suffering Servant, dying and rising for our sin, and then as our glorious returning King. God’s gift of the Spirit also arrives in two distinct outpourings. First, in this season of time which follows His resurrection and ascension, believing individuals are baptized into the Holy Spirit to equip them as His witnesses (the “little Pentecost”). Then, at His return, He will baptize the whole earth “as the waters cover the sea,” (the “big Pentecost”) (Asher Intrater, Foursquare Convention, Jerusalem, 2007).

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