Monday: The Disciples’ Mission

Read Acts 1:8. Instead of indulging in prophetic speculations, what were the disciples expected to do?

There are four important elements in this passage concerning the disciples’ mission:

  1. The gift of the Spirit. The Spirit had always been active among God’s people. According to the prophets, however, there would be a special endowment of the Spirit in the future (Isa. 44:3Joel 2:28-29). As Jesus Himself was anointed with the Spirit, the Holy Spirit was already at work during the time of His ministry (Luke 4:18-21) but officially was not inaugurated until Christ’s exaltation in heaven (John 7:39Acts 2:33).
  2. The role of witness. A witness is a firsthand account. The disciples were fully qualified to give such a witness (Acts 1:21-22Acts 4:20; compare with 1 John 1:1-3) and were now commissioned to share with the world their unique experience with Jesus.
  3. The plan of the mission. The disciples were to witness first in Jerusalem, then in Judea and Samaria, and finally to the ends of the earth. It was a progressive plan. Jerusalem was the center of Jewish religious life, the place where Jesus had been condemned and crucified. Judea and Samaria were neighboring areas where Jesus also had ministered. The disciples, however, were not to limit themselves to this locale alone. The scope of their mission was worldwide.
  4. The orientation of the mission. In Old Testament times, it was the nations that should be attracted to God (see Isa. 2:1-5), not Israel that should “take” God to the nations. The few exceptions (for example, Jonah) do not invalidate the general rule. Now the strategy was different. Jerusalem was still the center, but rather than staying and building roots there, the disciples were expected to move out to the uttermost ends of the earth.
The Disciples' Mission

Image © Jeff Preston Goodsalt.com

Read Luke 24:44-48. What was the core message that the disciples should preach?

In the forty days He spent with the disciples after the resurrection (Acts 1:3), Jesus must have explained much truth to them about the kingdom of God, even if there was still much they didn’t understand, as their question in Acts 1:6 showed. They were familiar with the prophecies but could now see them in a new light, a light shed from the Cross and the empty tomb (see Acts 3:17-19).

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Source: Daily Sabbath School Lessons