Daily Bible Studies & Sermon Notes

Acts 1:11-13
Pastor Steve Schell
Sunday: Acts 1:11
v11 (continued): The fact that Jesus ascended from the Mount of Olives has great prophetic significance. Two hundred years before Jesus was born, the prophet Zechariah saw a future day when Israel’s Messiah would rescue Jerusalem by defeating an army made up of combined forces from many different nations (Zec 12:2-14; 14:1-3). The battle he described is the same battle John describes in his Revelation (Rev 19:11-21). John sees the resurrected Christ return to earth with the armies of heaven, and by merely speaking a command, He strikes down the Antichrist’s forces at Armageddon. This victory ushers in a thousand-year period of world-wide peace under the Messiah’s rule (Rev 20:1-6).

Monday: Acts 1:11
v11 (continued): What connects Christ’s Return with His Ascension is a statement by Zechariah that when the Messiah arrives He will stand on the Mount of Olives. He says, “In that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives which is in front of Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will be split in its middle from east to west by a very large valley, so that half the mountain will move toward the north and the other half toward the south. You (the inhabitants of Jerusalem), will flee by the valley of My mountains. Then the Lord, my God, will come, and all the holy ones with Him.” (Zec 14:2-4; Rev 12:13-17). So, when the angels told the disciples that Jesus “…will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven,” they not only meant He will descend from heaven, but it appears He will return to the same spot. The very place from which He ascended may be the place to which He will descend.

Tuesday: Acts 1:12
v12: When the angels finished speaking, the disciples immediately began to worship Jesus (Lk 24:52). Undoubtedly they must have fallen on their faces and poured out praise, declaring Him to be their promised Messiah and now their ascended Lord. Over the past forty days when Jesus met with them, He had reminded them of key passages in the Old Testament which prophetically speak of Him (Lk 24:25-27, 44-47). Now, with His words fresh on their minds, they must have freely quoted from these as they worshipped. Once this burst of amazement and heartfelt thanks subsided, they turned and went back down the mountain into the city, filled “with great joy” (Lk 24:52).

Wednesday: Acts 1:12
v12 (continued): The fact that Luke felt the need to tell Theophilus the location of the Mount of Olives gives us some insight into the man for whom Luke wrote this history. It’s hard to imagine he was a Jew, because even if he grew up in a distant Gentile city, a Jewish boy would be taught the basic topography of Jerusalem, the city at the spiritual center of his nation. But it’s also hard to imagine Theolphilus was a biblically-ignorant Gentile because Luke told him the distance between the city wall and the crest of the mountain was “a Sabbath day’s journey away,” which would be a concept a Gentile would not be likely to understand. So, at first glance, Luke’s comment to Theophilus seems confusing. How would a man who doesn’t know the location of the Mount of Olives know the distance in a Sabbath day’s journey, unless Theolphilus is what Luke calls a “God-fearing” Gentile (lit: a devout person, a worshiper. Ac 13:43, 50; 16:14; 17:4, 17; 18:7).

Thursday: Acts 1:12
v12 (continued): As we read the Book of Acts we see that there were often Gentiles participating in the synagogues. These Gentile men and women were drawn to the holy, monotheistic God of Israel. They recognized that the vulgar polytheism of their own cultures was foolishness, and in some cases they actually converted to Judaism (proselytes), and in others they didn’t convert, but still worshiped Israel’s God and even practiced some of the requirements of the Law (Mt 8:5-13; Lk 7:1-10). As we’ll see, this group was very responsive when the gospel was preached (Ac 13:42-52). If indeed Theophilus is one of these, then he would have heard the Torah read each Sabbath, and certainly would have been taught Sabbath guidelines along with other aspects of Torah observance. And if that were the case, then he might not know the topography of Jerusalem, but would surely know the distance in a Sabbath day’s journey.

Friday: Acts 1:13
v13: In his gospel, Luke tells us that after the Ascension the disciples “were continually in the temple blessing God,” but here in Acts we’re told they entered the city and “went up into the upper room where they were staying.” This “upper room” would have been a chamber built on the flat roof of a house. Putting these two pieces of information together, a picture emerges of that ten-day period between the Ascension and Pentecost. The eleven apostles, who Luke lists in this verse, were sleeping overnight in that upper chamber. Then during the day others must have joined them there for corporate prayer but, clearly, part of each day must also have been spent in larger gatherings at the temple. These would have met in the large outer courtyard, called the Court of the Gentiles, and undoubtedly they would have taken cover from the sun under the large colonnaded structure on the south side called the Portico of Solomon or the Royal Stoa. Many groups gathered in this large covered area, and it also held a bazaar, where items for worship were sold.

Saturday: Acts 1:13
v13 (continued): Luke names the eleven apostles Jesus had chosen (Ac 1:2; Lk 6:12-16). By providing this list he’s making it clear to Theophilus that the Lord had designated specific men to lead His Church. He names Peter, John, James, Andrew, Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew (probably another name for Nathaniel, Jn 1:45), Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas the son of James (probably another name for Thaddeus, Mt 10:3; Mk 3:18). These were the men who had observed the entire three and a half years of Jesus’ ministry (Ac 1:22). They had watched Him minister, observed His character, been taught by Him, had seen Him in His resurrected state, and watched as He ascended into heaven. Because of these men there is every reason to believe the gospel is true. He’s telling Theophilus (and us) these are the ones to whom believers should listen in matters of sound doctrine. These are the foundation stones of the Lord’s Church (Eph 2:20; Rev 21:14; Mt 16:18).

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