Between his gospel and the Book of Acts, Luke has given us enough information to recreate in our minds a rough sketch of the Lords final day with His disciples. When we go back to the carefully chosen words Luke uses, a beautiful picture emerges of our risen Lord preparing to leave. We know what He talked about during the 40 days following His resurrection, and we know what He said, and probably where He said it, on this final day before he ascended. Who among us wouldnt give almost anything to have been there with those disciples listening to Him and then watching Him rise into heaven? Today well find, as we will so often during our study of Acts, gratitude welling up within us toward this Greek physician (Col 4:14) who did the research necessary to let us slip into the back of those gatherings to listen and watch.
The Kingdom of God (Ac 1:3)
During the 40-day period following His resurrection, Jesus regularly taught His disciples about things concerning the kingdom of God. By the phrase kingdom of God Luke means Gods plan of salvation. Jesus focused on three topics: first, He explained how He fulfilled the prophecies of the Old Testament (Lk 24:44-47); second, He prepared them to receive the Baptism with the Holy Spirit (Lk 24:49; Ac 1:4, 5); and third, He gave them their assignment to be His witnesses and to make disciples in Israel and Samaria, and in all the Gentile nations, clear to the last place on earth (Mt 28:19; Mk 16:15; Lk 24:47; Ac 1:8).
The Promise of the Father (Ac 1:4, 5)
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The Mystery (Ac 1:6-11)
As He led them out of the city toward Bethany, the disciples questioned Jesus about what He had just told them. They were confused because the prophets say that when Messiah comes the Spirit of God will be poured out on all Israel and will, in fact, cover the whole earth as the waters cover the sea, yet Jesus had only talked about the Spirit coming on them. So they asked Him, Lord, has that glorious age arrived when Messiah will rule and the Spirit will be poured out on all Israel? To which Jesus answered, no, there are times (chronos) and seasons (chairos) in Gods plan to restore the earth which the Father has put in place by His own authority. In other words, things will not happen as you expected, there is a divine plan at work you dont understand. But I can tell you this much, the promised outpouring of the Spirit will come upon you as individuals to equip you for ministry.
And behold I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you, but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed (to get into, be put inside) with power from on high. (Lk 24:49)
When this happens, He said you will be equipped to be my witnesses in Israel and Samaria, and even to the most distant part of the planet (lit: the end of the earth).
So the mystery Jesus revealed was that God would not bring to earth the final age of the Spirit, even after the Messiah rose from the dead. Instead He would give the Holy Spirit to the Messiahs people so they could win more souls. He would withhold that glorious day so that a huge harvest of souls could take place.
The suffering Messiahs redemption (death and resurrection) would release a rapid expansion of Gods kingdom into the nations. The resurrection would produce Pentecost, not the Millennium, until the harvest is complete (Isa 53, 54:1-3).
A Continuing Gift (Ac 2:37-39)
Ten days later, on the day of Pentecost, Peter told the gathered multitude to whom God would give this baptism of the Spirit. His explanation was clear and precise. He said God would give the gift of the Holy Spirit to anyone who would repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sins. The gift would be given to believers whether they were young or old, generation after generation, no matter where they lived on the planet, until this season of harvest comes to an end. In other words, Jesus instructions on that final day apply to every believer. Every one of us is given the same message, the same power, and the same assignment.
The Ultimate Goal
Every one of us is part of Gods strategy to fill His kingdom with people. And then someday this harvest will end, and His plan will arrive at His ultimate goal. He will resurrect the entire universe (the new heaven and earth, Rev 21:1) to create an eternal home, a kingdom, for His Son and His adopted children.
Here are three questions we can ask ourselves:
1) Have I responded to Peters call to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ
? (Ac 2:38)
2) Have I received the promised gift of the Holy Spirit? (Ac 2:38, 39)
3) Have I acknowledged Jesus final instructions? Do I know my message, my power of the Spirit, and my assignment to make disciples?