THE RISEN LORD
It has often been said that the title of the Acts of the Apostles ought to be the Acts of the Risen Lord. The idea for such a change comes from the introduction to this first chapter (vv. 1–3). The former treatise (the gospel of Luke) that Dr. Luke wrote to Theophilus (apparently a noble convert to Christianity) had recorded the things that Jesus began to do while in His body of limitation. The present treatise (Acts) continued the record of the works of Jesus, only in His resurrection body in which He was seen by the apostles for forty days (v. 3). Three acts of this risen Lord are recorded in this chapter.
THE RISEN LORD CORRECTING, 1:4–7
Correction Concerning Service, 1:4–5
In His conversations with His disciples during the forty-day post-resurrection ministry, the Lord spoke concerning the kingdom of God. Apparently the disciples had become greatly enthused, and so the Lord cautioned them to wait in Jerusalem for the coming of the Holy Spirit before they began their service for Him. The ministry of the Spirit was not unknown to them; indeed they had experienced it (John 14:17; 20:22). But the baptizing work of the Spirit was something they had not yet experienced, for the Lord said, “You will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now” (v. 5). Then they would be ready for service. (And, of course, after the promise had been received there would be no more need for tarrying.)
Correction concerning Seasons, 1:6–7
Jewish minds had long been agitated over the coming of Messiah’s kingdom. When Jesus of Nazareth appeared on the scene of history, the hopes of many of the Jewish satellite people were pinned on Him. But these hopes were dashed against the stones of the hill of Calvary when their conquerors crucified their deliverer. Now that He had risen from the dead, their hopes were revived. “Will the kingdom come now?” was the burning question (v. 6). Questions about the kingdom are pertinent, the Lord implied, but as for answering the question about the time of the coming of the kingdom, this He could not do. To know many things about the kingdom is quite proper (v. 3), but “it is not for you to know times or epochs” (v. 7).
The Nature of the Commission, 1:8
Until the kingdom should come, the disciples were commissioned to be occupied with witnessing of their Lord.
1. Its Power. The power of the commission is the person of the Holy Spirit who would come upon them and baptize them on the day of Pentecost.
2. Its Personnel. The commission is to be carried out by the disciples and all who are “My witnesses” (the correct rendering of “witnesses unto me”).
3. Its Program. The commission’s outreach is worldwide. In the Acts the record of witnessing in Jerusalem is in chapters 1–7; in Judea and Samaria, 8–12; unto the uttermost part of the earth, 13–28.