Study Notes

Acts 1:1-14

1:1-2 Luke And Theophilus

After Luke had made careful inquiry into the facts, he compiled an accurate and chronological account of Jesus' birth, life, death, and resurrection and then sent it to a man named Theophilus. This is the book we call the gospel of Luke.

Now, we have before us the second of Luke's books. We call it "the Acts of the Apostles," because although it starts with a quick review of the final days of Jesus' earthly ministry, the purpose of the book is to show us how the church came to be, and how the apostles spread the gospel throughout the known world.

Incidentally, the Greek name Theophilus means "friend of God." People can see through my sense of humor that I'm a friend of God. They don't say that specifically, but people are always telling me that I make "theophilus jokes"...

1:3 The Resurrected Christ

Jesus had been tortured beyond comprehension, and died a horrible and very obvious death. He'd been buried in a tomb, with nobody actually believing that He could fulfill the promise He'd repeatedly made:

Matt. 27:63 "...After three days I am to rise again."

But early that Sunday morning, Jesus did rise from the dead.

1Cor. 15:4-6 ...He was buried, and ... He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and ... He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time..."

After rising from the dead, Jesus walked with them, talked with them, let them touch Him, and even ate with them. They were convinced!

But He wasn't going to stay long. He only stuck around for 40 days. And during that time, He taught them some essential truth...

1:4-5 The Promise Of The Spirit

One of those things concerning the kingdom of God about which Jesus told the disciples was the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

The night before He was murdered, He told them that He was only with them a little while longer (John 13:33). "But," He promised them,

John 14:16-17 "I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you."

The Spirit had been WITH them, but would soon be IN them. Jesus resurrected on Sunday morning, and that night, He stood in the midst of the disciples. He said to them,

John 20:21-22 ..."Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” And when He had said this, He breathed on them and *said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit."

And so the Spirit had been WITH them, and now He was IN them.

But wait, there's more!

Jesus is now telling them to wait in Jerusalem for something else: the baptism of the Holy Spirit. He told them,

Luke 24:49 " are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”

The disciples were being told that they were going to experience yet another work of the Spirit in their lives. A powerful work.

He had been NEXT to them. Now He was IN them. But soon, He would come UPON them. That is the baptism of the Spirit. We'll see this happen to the disciples in chapter two.

1:6-8 You Shall Be My Witnesses

Notice that Jesus was more concerned with them being empowered by the baptism of the Holy Spirit than He was about the timing of the end times. Unfortunately, there are far too many Christians who would rather discuss theology and debate eschatology than walk in the power of the Spirit.

What was this power for? Though many preach that the power is to act strangely during church services, Jesus said that it is the power to be His witnesses, fulfilling the great commission.

Mark 16:15 And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation."

Matt. 28:19-20 "...make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you...”

They were start in Jerusalem, expand throughout Judea and Samaria, and ultimately take it to the remotest parts of the earth.

1:9-11 Lifted Up

Jesus had come to earth very naturally - born of a woman. But His exit was far from commonplace: He was lifted up into a cloud and disappeared out of sight!

I love thinking of the disciples all standing there with their mouths open, staring intently into the sky. They were probably doing what we do when a child lets go of the helium balloon they're holding. We watch it become so small that it can't be seen, but then we keep on looking...

But before they stood there for any length of time, two angels appeared beside them.

"Why are you guys standing here like this? Jesus will come back the same way. But in the meantime, what did He just tell you to do?"

I wonder how long they would have stood there if the angels hadn't said that? Probably far too long.

I appreciate it when someone has the guts to confront Jesus' followers and say, "Why are you doing what you're doing? Is this what He's told you to do? Are you wasting time in the kingdom? Is there something better you could be doing with your time?"

With that wake-up call, they obeyed what Jesus said to do: go to Jerusalem and wait for the outpouring the Spirit.

1:12 Returning To Jerusalem

They had been on the Mount of Olives, which Luke describes as being a Sabbath day's journey away.

A lot of people mistakenly read this as being a full day's walk. But in reality, the Jews had imposed restrictions that said walking more than 2,000 cubits on the Sabbath day was considered work, which God had forbidden. So, the disciples were walking less than a mile back to Jerusalem on that day.

1:13 The Upper Room

When they got to Jerusalem, the eleven disciples went to the upper room. (It was most likely called this not because it was on the second story, but because it was in the upper city of Jerusalem, which was the main residential section of Jerusalem during that time.)

1:14 Prayer With One Mind

The eleven disciples, as well as Jesus mother and brothers, and the women who'd followed Jesus, continually devoted themselves to prayer. (You might take note that they were praying WITH Mary, not TO her.)

The great thing was that they had unity, being of one mind. They were determined to obey Jesus' commandments, and this brought all of these different personalities to be single-minded.

Saints, we will only be able to unite under this one banner: obedience to Christ's commandments. And the wonderful result will be unified prayer.

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