In the next two weeks in our encounters with Jesus, we will be looking at some of His final words to His disciples before Pentecost. This week we’ll be looking specifically at Acts 1: 6-11, where Jesus ascends into heaven:
6 So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He replied, “It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” 9 When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10 While he was going and they were gazing up toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. 11 They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”
Today we want to look at the World of the Text for this passage. I have always found something incredibly powerful about this text. In the text, Jesus reminds us that the things concerning the end of the world are the decision and domain of the Father. He tells His disciples not to get too drawn into those concerns, but instead focus on the mission that He has for them. He tells them that they are to go into the world and preach the good news. But He calls them to four distinct places:
1. Jerusalem. This where they are. Jerusalem would be the base of operations for the early church. They were called to ministry in their home.
2. Judea. That is their greater area. Judea would have been the area surrounding Jerusalem. They were not just called to their hometown, but to their home region.
3. Samaria. This is their enemies, the ones who they did not like. They did not respect. They were to be witnesses there.
4. The ends of the earth. This is across all over the world.
Tomorrow, we’ll look deeper at what this means for us in our lives, but do you see this truth? The people of God are called to go. Go and witnesses. Take the good news of Jesus with them, wherever they go. Their mission was not to wait for the people to come to them, they were to go to the people.
This may seem overwhelming, but remember, His ascension and the gift of the Holy Spirit make this possible. The mission seems great, but the power to accomplish it is greater.
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