Chronicles of the Apostles – The Ascension

During this series we will look at the lives of the Apostles, focusing on the book of Acts. 


  1. The Fall of Jerusalem
    1. The main catalyst of change in the church is the fall of Jerusalem
    2. When believers started to trust in Jesus, they did not start going to church — They went to synagogue
    3. With the temple gone, the government of how these things happened had to change — this is where we started to get the idea of how we do what we do
    4. Jerusalem fell in 70 A.D., but 40 years before that some strange omens started to happen
      1. On the ve before Passover the sun turned dark at noon
      2. Several hours later, when the lamb was sacrificed, the darkness suddenly lifted, the earth shook, a massive lintel stone over one of the gateways cracked and collapsed and panic came over the priest
      3. Hours later they continued with the Passover sacrifices like normal
      4. Later that evening, the priests discovered the great curtain which divided the holy place from the Holy of Holies had torn down the middle — It was known as a handbreadth thick (they replaced the curtain.)
      5. The Menorah began to exhibit a strange phenomena, too — The westernmost lamp closest to the Holy of Holies would not stay lit
        1. This one lamp stayed lit years earlier during the Maccabean wars (Hanukkah) but now the opposite happened
      6. A strip of red cloth that hung outside the Holy of Holies would always turn white when the Passover Lamb was sacrificed, but it never did again
      7. Finally the doors of the temple themselves would not stay closed — they were ajar from the earthquake
    5. Rumors in Jerusalem were that these omens had to be related to a crucified man, but the priests rejected it and had a ceremony where they rebuked the temple for scaring the people
    6. Rumors of the crucified one being resurrected were circulating and Caiaphas the High Priest realized with dismay that this “resurrected” dead man garnered more acclaim among the people than he did while he was still alive

  2. The Forty Days (Acts 1:3)
    1. Jesus left the tomb on Nisan the day after the Sabbath and the second day of the Festival of Passover
      1. He rose during the First Fruits Ceremony — a small insignificant ceremony during the Feast of Passover
    2. All his post resurrection appearances fell within the period of time called the counting of the Omer (Leviticus 23:12-15)
    3. On the first day of the Omer he appeared to Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, Salome the wife of Zebedee, Joanna the wife of Chuzza, Simon Peter and Clopas (Jesus uncle), along with two traveling companions going toward Emmaus
    4. That night (which would be day two — the Jewish day starts at 6:00pm) He appeared in the midst of 10 of the eleven disciples
    5. A week later he appeared to them again, and Thomas was with them
    6. He appeared to James, Jesus brother, and 500 other people
    7. He also appeared to the disciples in Galilee while they were fishing
    8. Jesus ate with them and led them to the Mount of Olives where he ascended before them

  3. Apostles
    1. Jesus was appearing to appoint them as apostles with a message
      1. Not just appointing them with a message, but empowering them to do his works in his power
        1. Hebrew word is “shaliach”
        2. Rule of a “shaliach” is that you can set aside certain prohibitions in order to accomplish the mission
          1. (EXAMPLE: You can exceed the prohibition of how far you can travel on the Sabbath)
        3. You must be willing to lay down your life to accomplish the mission
      2. We don’t have the recording of the visitation to all 500, but they were all commissioned
      3. They were all Jews (Romans 1:16) — He is for the Jew first then for the Greek
        1. God loved all nations as God vowed to Abraham (Genesis 12: 3) — In you all the families of the earth will be blessed
        2. Not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9)
        3. So why were they all Jewish people?
          1. No barriers of understanding or acceptance
          2. Easiest evangelism is people who are known with people who are known
          3. To start the church Jesus ministered to the people he understood — not only Jews, but Galileans — “New wine needs new wineskins”
        4. Cross cultural ministry needs to happen, but not all missions is the same
          1. Jesus cast demons out of Gentile man in Mark 5
          2. The man wanted to follow Jesus but he told him to stay and tell his friends what great things the Lord has done for him (Mark 5:19)
        5. People in the upper room were able to minister to each other and be in one accord because they were probably mostly Galileans
        6. When they share Christ after the baptism the Holy Spirit, they ministered to the first ethnic crossing of hellenistic Jews

  4. The Immersion
    1. You will be baptized
      1. “Baptism” means “immersion”
    2. This was a ceremony that they did quite regularly — it was not invented by Christianity
    3. It is a full body immersion into living water (flowing water or rain water)
    4. It was done in a Mikva — there were hundreds of Mikvas around Jerusalem, 3000 people were baptized in one day
    5. Going into a Mikvah is a transferring from one state to another
      1. Impure, now pure, and going into the temple

  5. Restore the Kingdom (vs. 6)
    1. Is this the time You’re going to restore the kingdom?
    2. We saw this in the study of the Torah — the Messiah is going to come and set up his kingdom in Jerusalem
      1. Jewish people reject Jesus because this did not happen
      2. The disciples are wondering if this is the time of its fulfillment
        1. It only seemed natural that he would continue to fulfill prophecy and live among them forever (Ezekiel 37:25, 28)
    3. Jesus responded that only the Father would set the time and season
      1. He did not deny that this would happen, only that the timing did not yet come
    4. There is a set time when this is going to happen.
      1. (Colossians 2:17) Set times belong to Messiah.
    5. You will receive power and take my message to the ends of the earth (vs. 8)
      1. At some fixed time, Jesus will come and restore all things, but in the mean time, the disciples were to be witnesses to the ends of the earth
        1. Jerusalem (Acts 1-7)
        2. Samaria (Acts 8, 9)
        3. Ends of the earth (Acts 10:42) — He ordered us to preach everywhere and to testify that Jesus is the one appointed by God to be the judge of all — the living and the dead

  6. The Ascension (Luke 24:51)
    1. He was blessing them as he left
    2. He will return the same way you saw him leave (Acts 1:11)
      1. When Jesus returns, he will not return with anger, but speaking the blessings of God
      2. (Revelation 11:15) The kingdoms of this world will become the kingdoms of our God
    3. Cloud took him from their sight (vs. 9)
      1. Elijah to Elisha (2 Kings 2:9) “I want a double portion of your spirit”
      2. If you see me when I am taken from you, it shall be so for you, but if not, it shall not be so (2 Kings 2:10)
      3. No sooner did Elijah go, Elisha started to do the works of Elijah
      4. The spirit of Elijah is resting on Elisha (2 Kings 2:15)
      5. Seeing Jesus go was proof that they were going to receive the Spirit that was upon Jesus
    4. Angels appeared and ask why the disciples were staring at the sky (vs. 10)
    5. Jesus went to…
      1. Be seated at the right hand of God
      2. Sat down at the right hand of the throne
      3. Be highly exalted to His right hand as Prince and Savior to grant repentance and forgiveness to Israel for her sins
    6. He will return in the clouds and his feet will touch the Mount of Olives
      1. (Matthew 24:30) And then at last the sign that the Son of Man is coming will appear in the heavens…
      2. (Daniel 7:13) And behold with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming
      3. (Zechariah 14:4) On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives