Faithlife Sermons

Acts 1:6-11


Verse 6

When they had come together - Think about this. This is the last recorded moment of the disciples being together with Jesus before His ascension into heaven. They will have to wait until they too went to heaven to be in His constant presence again.
What a moment this is. No doubt the disciples had no idea that this would be their last moment with Jesus.
The question of “Lord will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel” was prompted by what Jesus said in verse 5.
They did not have 2000 years of history to benefit their understanding of things as they ask this question. They only had what Jesus had just spoken to them some 40 days earlier at the last supper...
Luke 22:20 ESV
20 And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.
They new that Jesus said that He instituted the new covenant by His blood, and they know understood what that meant and how that came to be now that Jesus had been crucified.
They also knew from the Prophet’s that Israel’s kingdom would be restored as a part of the new covenant. Amos 9, Jeremiah 23, Ezekiel 11, 36-37 among other places laid this out.
Those prophecies while having fulfillment for the church today were ultimately speaking of something that still remains in the future.
Couple all of that with what we learned in verse 3 and we can understand why they might ask the question about restoring the kingdom to Israel. It would make sense to them for this to be the next thing to happen from their understanding.
Also consider what they are asking. They want to know if Jesus would “at this time” (right now) restore (bring everything back) to Israel (a physical location not the world nor heaven).
The problem was that they were still confused about the mission of Jesus. He didn’t come for a political or military victory, he came for a spiritual victory.

Verses 7-8

The timing of things is left for the Father to know and for them/us to find out. In part, God has already been faithful to give us all a roadmap by way of prophecy, yet at the same time the specifics are only known to God.
It was also good for the date that God has set on His own calendar to not be revealed to them on this day. I wonder if the church would have been so productive over the years had they known that we would still be here 2,000 years after this conversation we are seeing take place here?
Even though Israel would not be restored to what God had intended for it from a physical perspective and thus the kingdom restored to Israel, something greater than that was here and had been there since Jesus arrival. The kingdom of God was present and meant to be active here on earth!
I have heard the kingdom of God described as being “already and not yet” and that seems like a good description and perhaps one that the Lord Jesus wanted to convey to His disciples in this moment.
I say that because of what He says next in verse 8. Verse 8 is such an important verse! It sets the tone, the course, the perspective, even the rule if you will for living as a member of God’s kingdom on earth.
Notice how Jesus started this thought back in verse 5 and the disciples got a bit confused about it, so now He brings it back around for them to have understanding.
So here is the corrective statement...
But you will receive power - that which is needed to perform the work of the Great Commission.
when the Holy Spirit has come upon you - drawing them back to His previous statement in verse 5
and you will/shall be my witnesses - This is the work of the Great Commission
in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth - This is where the activity of the Great Commission should and would take place as Jesus disciples live out their/our role as citizens of God’s kingdom here on earth.
Power = Dunamis = the potentiality to exert force in performing some function, Moral power and excellence of soul
Dunamis is a word that speaks of having a powerful ability to perform
Witnesses = [martus /mar·toos/] The Greek word speaks of being witness in a legal and historical sense as one who has seen something and in an ethical sense as those who after His example have proved the strength and genuineness of their faith in Christ by undergoing a violent death.
What Jesus said here is interesting in light of what God said in Isaiah 43...
Isaiah 43:10–13 ESV
10 “You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “and my servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me. 11 I, I am the Lord, and besides me there is no savior. 12 I declared and saved and proclaimed, when there was no strange god among you; and you are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “and I am God. 13 Also henceforth I am he; there is none who can deliver from my hand; I work, and who can turn it back?”
It is interesting to see the way Jesus lays out where His church would carry the great commission isn’t it?
Jerusalem was and is of course the capital of the Jewish Israel, but it was also the place where the Jewish leaders conspired with the Romans to put Jesus to death. There was already a crackdown in Jerusalem on any who followed after Jesus.
Judea which was a outside of Jerusalem was filled with people that rejected Jesus to His face, yet now the church was to take the message of Christ back there.
Samaria was a place filled with what the Jews thought of as half breeds who were good for nothing other than being firewood for the fires of hell.
Regardless of what those places and the thus the people in those places were formally known for, God had a plan to reach them and invite them to be citizens of His kingdom on earth, and that plan was to be carried out by the church of Jesus Christ who have been empowered by the Holy Spirit to have the ability to carry out the work of the Great Commission all over the globe.

Verses 9-11

In Luke’s first volume on the life and ministry of Jesus he ended the Gospel according to Luke with these words...
Luke 24:50–53 ESV
50 And he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them. 51 While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven. 52 And they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, 53 and were continually in the temple blessing God.
cloud - a final picture of the authority and majesty of Christ as he is swallowed up by the cloud of (Shekinah) glory
As He ascended into heaven in the cloud He makes it clear that He is now going to the right hand of the Father which is important to the context of this conversation since we are talking about the disciples having the need to be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now to be empowered with the ability to be Christ’s witnesses all around the globe.
Why do I say all of that? Because of what Jesus said...
John 16:7–15 ESV
7 Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. 8 And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; 10 concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; 11 concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. 12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15 All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.
Look at what the 2 men in white robes say in verse 11.
Verse 12 tells us where they were and the distance from Jerusalem. It is a short walk.
Now, what did Jesus instruct them in verses 4-5?
When the 2 men in white robes tell them “Why do you stand looking into heaven” they seem to be saying in a sense get back to Jerusalem and wait for that wonderful and necessary promise of the baptism of the Holy Spirit so that you can be given dunamis for the work of God’s kingdom on earth.
This Jesus, that was taken up from you into heaven, will come (again) in the same way as you saw Him go into heaven - Since He will return they/we should be busy about the work He has commanded (Great Commission) us and empowers us to do in His absence.
You see the idea going back to verses 1-3 is that all Jesus began to do and teach regarding the kingdom of God is to continue through the church in the power/ability of the Holy Spirit as we wait for His immanent return.
Think about the parables that Jesus taught about this very thing. The Parable of the sower, the parable of the servants, the parable of the vinedresser, the parable of the lamp, the parable of the fisherman’s net, the parable of the lost sheep, the parable of the lost coin, the prodigal son... etc
And finally look at what they said about the way He would return in the same way as they saw Him go...
He left physically and visibly and thus He will return in the same way...
He departed from the Mount of Olives and He will return to place His foot back upon that place.
But again, the bigger picture is that He will return and until He does return He has given His church the ministry of the Great Commission to fulfill in the power of the Holy Spirit for the benefit of this world and the glory of God who’s kingdom we have been brought into by the blood of Jesus Christ.


Luke 22:14–20 CSB
14 When the hour came, he reclined at the table, and the apostles with him. 15 Then he said to them, “I have fervently desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16 For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” 17 Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks, he said, “Take this and share it among yourselves. 18 For I tell you, from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” 19 And he took bread, gave thanks, broke it, gave it to them, and said, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 20 In the same way he also took the cup after supper and said, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.
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