Jesus has been to the cross, He has rose from the grave; now we find Him giving some final instructions and words of encouragement to the disciples as He ascends into Heaven. This passage is very relevant for us today and provides great encouragement for us just as it did the disciples.
The Great Question (v. 6-7). The disciples ask Jesus a question based on their understanding of scripture. They were looking for Jesus to set up His Kingdom on the earth and to rule and reign from Jerusalem. Now that Jesus had miraculously rose from the grave, the disciples are anxious concerning what will come next. The Holman New Testament Commentary states, “We can’t criticize the disciples too much, however, because the Old Testament links Spirit baptism with the coming kingdom (Isa. 32:15–20; Ezek. 39:28–29; Joel 2:28–3:1). The Lord did not deny the kingdom is coming but only warned the disciples that God’s schedule is none of their business.” The question that the disciples asked is similar to the same question we often ask today: When is Jesus coming again? There is an obsession today with the last days and the return of Christ. Many books have been written, many movies have been made, there are television shows based on the subject of the end times, and there have been thousands of sermons preached on the subject. We should not have our heads stuck in the sand. The signs of the times are all around us. However, we must heed the words of Jesus. It is not for us to know the time of His return. We should study those things to be informed, but we should not dwell on it. We should not be consumed with the last days and the return of Christ. Mark it down, Jesus will return. The Bible is true. There will be a rapture of the church. There will be a second coming after the tribulation period. Jesus will set up His Kingdom on the earth and rule for a thousand years. It will happen just as sure as we are here today. But, we need not worry about those things. We need to not be consumed by it. There is a far more important task at hand for us to be worried about the when Christ will return and the signs of the times.
The Great Commission (v. 8). The thing that we should be focused on, the thing that we should be consumed with is the responsibility we have to preach the Gospel. God has elected the church to be the vehicle through which He carries out His purpose in this world. What is God’s purpose? John 3:15, “That whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” God’s purpose is for every human being to be saved. The church has been ordained by God to bring the message of the Gospel to all the world so that all may hear and have the opportunity to trust in Jesus as their Savior. In looking at this Great Commission there are three things we should consider.
- Our Power.
The power and authority that we have comes for the Holy Spirit. Think about it. The Holy Spirit is God. He is not a feeling or an emotion or a thing. The Holy Spirit is a person. He is a part of the triune God. He is just as much God as Jesus is and He is just as much God as the Father is. The moment that you believe on the Lord Jesus for your salvation, you are indwelled by the Holy Spirit of God. He lives in you. The very power that created the world, lives in every believer. The Holy Spirit empowers us to carry out the Great Commission. We cannot take on such a task in our own strength and abilities. It is only by the power of the Holy Spirit that we can be and do what God has called us to be and do.
- Our Mission.
Our mission is to be witnesses of Jesus. The entire purpose for the life of the believer is to bring as many people to Jesus as possible. That is why we are here. That is what God has elected us to do. Everything in our lives should be wrapped up bringing glory to God by telling others about Jesus. My friend, we are not called to make the world a better place. We are called to preach Jesus. We are not called to make friends. We are called to preach Jesus. We are not called to be political. We are called to preach Jesus. We are not called to make a name for ourselves. We are called to preach Jesus. That is our mission. Everything else is secondary. Our first and foremost responsibility as believers in Christ and as a church is to let the world know of their need for a Savior. If winning people to Jesus is not at the core of all that we do, then all that we do is in vain. It does not matter how many people you help. It does not matter how many social injustices you fight against. It does not matter how many political victories we have. It does not matter how many ministries we build. If we are not warning people of hell and pointing them to the only one that can save them. If we are not preaching Jesus, then all that we do is worthless.
- Our Mission Field.
Where is the place of our mission? Where are we to go? Who are we to tell about Jesus? We are to go into all the world and tell all the world about Jesus. There is an order to this task. Notice in verse 8, we see the word ‘both.’ Jesus did not say that we start with our local community and then expand around the globe. He said to be His witness both in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. In other words, we are to be His witness both locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally all at the same time. A Christian who is fulfilling their God given purpose in this life is one who regularly prays for the lost by name, prays for missionaries around the world, is faithful in witnessing to their neighbors, co-workers, and anyone they come into contact with, and is involved in mission efforts around the world both financially and by prayer and by going. Our mission field is everywhere we are. Our mission field is in the grocery store. Our mission field is at home. Our mission field is at the local school. Our mission field is on the ball field. Our mission field is on social media. Our mission field is everywhere.
This Great Commission has been given to us by God. This is our purpose. This is our calling. You cannot get way from it. You cannot ignore it. Stop worrying about the signs of the times and the concerns of this life and focus on what God has called you to do: tell everyone about Jesus.
The Great Promise (v. 9-11). As Jesus ascended into Heaven, a great promise is given. The promise was that Jesus would return. When it comes to the return of Jesus, there are two things to make note of. There is the rapture of the church and the second coming of Christ. The rapture of the church is what we as believers are looking forward to. It is the time when the age of the church comes to an end and Jesus gathers His church to be with Him in Heaven. The second coming of Christ is when Jesus comes back and sets His feet on the earth and rules and reigns for a thousand years. The second coming of Christ is what is referred to here in Acts 1:11. The bottom line is that Jesus is coming again! We may not know the day or the hour, but Jesus is coming again! This is the promise for all believers. This evil sin-cursed world will one day come to an end. It will all be over soon. Don’t worry about tomorrow. Don’t fret over the signs of the times. Just take comfort in the fact that one day very soon we will see Jesus face to face!
 Gangel, K. O. (1998). Acts (Vol. 5, p. 11). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.