Teacher Notes

Bible Stories for Adults

The Great Commission and Ascension

Matt 28:16-20; Mark 16:14-18; Luke 24:44-53; Acts 1:1-11

Welcome and Announcements
    Next Week - Pentecost (John 14:23-31; Acts 2)
    Bible Words to Remember:
      You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised. Luke 24:48-49

Opening Prayer

Understanding (John 14-16)
    After Jesus rose, did He spend as much time as possible with His disciples for final preparations?
      John 20:19, 26; 21:1, 14 = No, He appeared sporadically
    Did He not need to spend more time because they were well trained and understood everything?
      John 14:8-11 = Even the night before He died they didn't understand who He was
    Did they not understand because they were too dense?
      John 16:25 = No, Jesus had been speaking figuratively, they didn't understand

    Why hadn't Jesus explained the things He said?
      John 12:49-50 = He said things exactly as the Father told Him
    Why would Jesus waste His effort saying things that couldn't be understood?
      John 14:24b-26 = The Counselor, the Holy Spirit, would come and explain everything
    Did the things Jesus say have any purpose until the Spirit came and explained them?
      John 16:33 = It gave His disciples peace

    Did Jesus say everything that needed to be said so that the Spirit could then explain it?
      John 16:12 = No, He had much more to say, more than they could bear
    So are all the things Jesus didn't get around to saying lost?
      John 16:13-15 = No, the Spirit would also reveal them
    How long would this Counselor be around to explain things?
      John 14:16 = Forever

Grief to Joy (John 16:19-22)
    How did the disciples feel about trading Jesus for the Holy Spirit?
      John 16:5-7 = They were grieved about losing Jesus
    How long did they feel this way?
      John 16:19-22 = Only until they saw Jesus again
    Were they filled with joy as Jesus had promised when they saw Jesus?
      John 20:20, 28; 21:7 = Yes, they were ecstatic to see Him
    Was it only the apostles that Jesus appeared to?
      1 Corinthians 15:5-8 = No, He appeared to many

Prophesy Fulfilled (Luke 24:44-49)
    What reason other than giving proof of His resurrection did Jesus appear to people?
      Luke 24:44-45 = To fulfill the promises of the Messiah prophesied in the Scriptures
    How did His return to life help complete this fulfillment?
      Luke 24:46 = Scripture said the Messiah would suffer, die & rise on the third day
    How would the coming weeks and years also show this fulfillment? = Begin in Jerusalem
      Luke 24:47-48 = Jesus' witnesses would take His good news (gospel) to the world
    Would the fulfillment of taking the Good News to the world depend on these witnesses?
      Luke 24:49 = No, the Spirit would fulfill this prophesy through them

New Beginnings (Acts 1:3)
    How long did Jesus go around showing Himself?
      Acts 1:1-3 = He showed Himself to His apostles & disciples for 40 days
    What is meaningful about this length of time between the ministries of Jesus and the disciples?
      Matthew 4:1-2 = Jesus took 40 days to transition into His ministry

    Where do we first see the use of the number 40 representing a new beginning?
      Genesis 7:4 = God flooded the earth for 40 days to give His creation a new beginning
    How did God make a new beginning with His people when they didn't trust Him?
      Numbers 14:27, 29, 33-34 = He kept them in the wilderness 40 years
    Was He just punishing them or was He really making a new beginning?
      Deuteronomy 8:2-5 = He worked on them over the 40 years to forge a new beginning

    How was Moses' life filled with examples of these new beginnings?
      Acts 7:23-24, 29 = He left the palace and became a shepherd in Midian at 40 yrs
      Acts 7:30, 34 = After 40 yrs as shepherd, God sent him to free Israel
      Deuteronomy 9:9 = Moses spent 40 days/nights on Mt Sinai getting God's commands
      Deuteronomy 9:16, 25 = Moses lay before God 40 days/nights after golden calf
      Deuteronomy 10:10-11 = Moses spent another 40 days/nights getting second set

    What other significant new beginnings do we find in His Story?
      Joshua 14:7 = Joshua began his ministry as a spy at 40
      Judges 3:11-12 = Israel had 40 years of peace after conquest, before evil (Jdg5:31)
      Judges 13:1 = Israel experienced 40 years of Philistine rule before Samson
      1 Samuel 4:18 = Eli led Israel 40 years before Samuel took over
      2 Samuel 5:4 = David, the greatest king of Israel, reigned 40 years
      1 Kings 11:42 = Solomon, last king of united kingdom, reigned 40 years
      1 Kings 19:2-3, 8 = God commanded to begin again after 40 day/night journey
      2 Kings 12:1 = Joash, the king who rededicated Judah to God, reigned 40 years
      Jonah 3:4-5 = Ninevah was given 40 days to repent, they did

    To what New Beginning have we been called?
      2 Corinthians 3:6-8 = Ministers of a new covenant - not of the letter [of law] but of the Spirit

Wait For the Spirit (Acts 1:4-8)
    Were the apostles to start this New Beginning immediately after Jesus left?
      Acts 1:4 = No, they should wait in Jerusalem for the Spirit (Spirit witnesses thru us)
    How long would they have to wait and how would they know it was time?
      Acts 1:5 = A few days; They'd be baptized, not with water, but filled with the Spirit
    Why was it important for the apostles to wait for the Spirit instead of beginning on their own?
      Acts 1:6 = Without the Spirit they had no understanding of the Good News
    How did Jesus show that He understood why they could still ask such a stupid question?
      Acts 1:7 = The Father had not yet revealed His secrets
    When would they ever understand the answer to this and their many other "dumb" questions?
      Acts 1:8 = When the Holy Spirit comes to them; They'll then reveal to others

Witnesses (Ephesians 3:4-11)
    Of what were the disciples were to be witnesses?
      Ephesians 3:4-6 = God's mysteries that had been hidden, now revealed by the Spirit
    Was Paul able to understand these mysteries because he was a studied Pharisee?
      Ephesians 3:2-3 = No, he knew them because they were revealed to him
    Did Paul receive this revelation because he had been prepared through his studies?
      Ephesians 3:7-9 = No, he was chosen entire by the grace of God, totally undeserving
    Did anyone besides Paul receive this calling?
      Ephesians 3:10-11 = Yes, the whole church, all Christians are to be witnesses

    How are we to know what to say when we witness?
      Luke 21:13-15 = I will give you words and wisdom
    Is that how the great witness Paul knew what to say?
      Acts 26:15-16 = A witness of what you have seen of me and what I will show you
    What about the other apostles? Did they try to become wise to explain the gospel?
      Acts 4:19-20 = No, they just spoke about what they saw and heard
    Wiersbe: A witness is someone who tells what he has seen and heard. When you're on the witness stand in court, the judge is not interested in your ideas or opinions; he only wants to know what you know.

The Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-18)
    How many people need to hear this good news before we can stop witnessing?
      Mark 16:15 = All the world ... to all creation
    How can we even begin with such a large goal? = Jerusalem, Judea & Samaria, ends of earth
      Acts 1:8 = Start at home, neighbors, family, friends, community, city, etc.
    What specific instructions did Jesus give us to accomplish this witnessing?
      Matthew 28:19-20a = Go, make disciples, baptize them, teach them
    Why is this so important?
      Mark 16:16 = It is the only way people will be saved
    What did Jesus promise to help us with this large and important effort?
      Matthew 28:18, 20b = He will be with us with all of the power in heaven and on earth
    Will this power be available to us or will He just be there to tell us what to say?
      Mark 16:17-18 = He will give us His power to accomplish this mission

Jesus Leaves (Acts 1:9)
    What did Jesus do after giving these instructions?
      Acts 1:9 = He ascended into heaven
    What do some find significant about the cloud hiding Him from their sight?
      Exodus 24:15-17 = The glory of the Lord was with the Israelites in a dense cloud
    Where was Jesus when He did this?
      Luke 24:50-51 = In the vicinity of Bethany
    Where in the vicinity of Bethany?
      Acts 1:12 = The Mount of Olives, the place where He frequently prayed

Witnesses in Waiting (Acts 1:10-14)
    What did the disciples do when Jesus left?
      Acts 1:10-11 = Stood staring at where Jesus had risen, angels said He'd return
    What did the disciples do after hearing the angels?
      Luke 24:52-53 = they worshipped Him, returned to Jerusalem, praised God
    Did they immediately begin witnessing of the Good News of Jesus?
      Acts 1:13-14 = No, they waited in the Upper Room and prayed
    Without telling next week's story, did the disciples witness with Jesus' power as promised?
      Mark 16:19-20 = Yes, the Lord worked with them and confirmed His Word by signs

Closing Prayer

Copyright © 1998 by Kurt Rosenhagen

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