Acts 1:1-11: The Great Commission

Witnesses to Jesus, part 3

Getting started

As Christians we are called to be witnesses of Christ. This study examines the instructions Jesus gave his followers before he left them to carry on his mission.

In common usage, what is a witness? [Someone who has seen something and is able to talk about it.] What are ways people are witnesses in everyday situations? [Think of news reporting, an accident scene or a court scene.]

1. Acts is Dr. Luke's sequel to his Gospel, taking up the story where he left off in the book of Luke. Read Luke 24:36–53 to set the stage for the opening to Acts.

2. Now read Acts 1:1–11. How was Jesus occupied during the time between his resurrection and his ascension into heaven? How would these things prepare the disciples for his departure?

3. Why couldn't they begin spreading the word of the kingdom of God immediately? What did Jesus mean by "the promise of the Father"? (See John 14:16–17, 25–26 for more background.)

4. What expectation is reflected in the disciples' question in verse 6? [Note: Most Jewish people had expected the Messiah to be a political/military ruler who would set Israel free from Roman rule and establish Israel as a great political power.] How does Jesus redirect their attention [verses 7–8]? Are there similar concerns we struggle with that can distract us from our primary responsibilities as Jesus' representatives? How should we keep these in proper perspective?

5. What are the disciples told they'll receive in verse 8? For what purpose will they receive it? What is the scope of their assignment? If this had taken place in your town or on your campus, what places could be substituted for those in verse 8?

6. What happened next? What kinds of reactions might this have produced among the disciples? What do the men in white robes tell the disciples? How would this information have helped the disciples just then? And later? At the beginning we defined witness. In verse 8 the disciples were called to be witnesses to Jesus. How does this call extend to us?

In closing

Spend some time praying for power to be witnesses to the person and work of Jesus, beginning where we are and continuing to the ends of the earth.


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Acts 1:1-11

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