Summary: cts 1:4-8 outlines the purpose of Christ’s ascension into heaven and the coming of the Holy Spirit. Acts 1 gives the exit strategy of Jesus. Jesus told them to wait in Jerusalem until they received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. (verse 4)
Empowered for a Purpose
The last chapter of Luke and the first chapter of Acts Dr. Luke testifies to the final words of Jesus and His ascension into heaven. Why didn’t Jesus continue His ministry on earth? He rose from the dead. Why didn’t He continue to lead His disciples in preaching and healing to people in the world? Jesus would have done much good through his preaching and healing ministry. During His more than three years of public ministry much was accomplished, but there was so much more to be done.
Of all the books in the Bible there is one book that specializes in telling the story of people’s lives being changed. The author tells of nominal Christians being transformed into zealous, firey, and courageous believers. Of course I’m talking about the book of Acts. Acts was written around 61 AD by Luke a physician and traveling companion of the Apostle Paul. Luke records the history of the early church following the ascension of Christ.
In John’s gospel chapters 14 and 16 Jesus taught his disciples that it was necessary that he go back to heaven. Jesus had given more than three years of training to his disciples and he promised them that after his departure he would continue to be with them. Matthew 28:16-18, “Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
John chapters 14,16, Jesus gives instructions on what his disciples were to do following his departure. Jesus said he was going to prepare a place for them. Jesus told them that all who saw Him were also seeing God the Father. Jesus said that He and the Father were one.
Jesus told his followers that he was going to the Father and all His followers were to continue to do the work he had done. Jesus gave the promise that they would do even greater works than he had done. John 14:12
Jesus said that after his ascension he would not leave his disciples orphans. After His departure He would send the Holy Spirit to come as His representative. The Holy Spirit would teach them everything they needed to know and remind them of everything Christ had told them. John 14:26
Jesus said that as long as he was with them he was limited to being present with them one-on-one or in a group. John 16:7, “If I do not go away, he will not come to you, because I will send him to you.”
Prior to Pentecost the work of the Holy Spirit was limited to individuals. The Holy Spirit empowered David to kill a bear, a lion and Goliath. The Holy Spirit empowered Sampson with super human strength. The Holy Spirit empowered Gideon to defeat the Midianites with a small bank of 300 men.
After Pentecost Jesus was available to everyone through the power and presence of the Holy Spirit; no longer limited to one on one or groups of people.