1. Why did Jesus leave the disciples when he ascended into heaven?
The prophet John baptized believers with water, which signified washing and repentance of sins. Jesus was the one who was to baptize with the Holy Spirit (Matt. 3:11). Jesus left the disciples in order for the Holy Spirit to come as it was promised by God the Father (v. 4). Jesus previously stated,
And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you (John 14:16-17 ESV).
Jesus ascended into heaven and was exalted to the right hand of the Father. He went back to the One who sent Him. Now Jesus left to prepare a place for those who put their faith and trust in Him (John 7:33-34, 14:2-3).
2. Where does mission begin and where does it end, according to v. 8?
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and it all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth (Acts 1:8).
Jesus made a very clear demand for the disciples to stay in Jerusalem. The continuation of Jesus’ mission through the Holy Spirit would begin in Jerusalem and it will spread out to the ends of the earth (v. 8). The message was to be heard by the Jews in Jerusalem, and then to the Gentiles in further areas witch included the city of Rome, the central capital of the Empire. Salvation was first to the Jews, then to the Gentiles (Rom. 1:16). Jesus had purposely planned for the Jews to hear it first, since Israel was God’s chosen people.
This was to demonstrate that God was not through and done with Israel. The apostles even ask Jesus if He was going to restore the kingdom of Israel (v. 6). Soon they would hear a message of hope by followers of Jesus, whom through the resurrection of the dead would grant an inheritance of everlasting life (1 Peter 1:3-4).
3. What is the purpose of the Holy Spirit?
The purpose of the Holy Spirit was to be a helper, a comforter, and the source of power for the disciples to carry out the gospel and be a witness of Jesus Christ, spreading the Good News of salvation to the rest of the world. The Holy Spirit was to come soon upon the disciples (v. 5). Later on the apostles are seeing firsthand the great saving power of God’s grace (2:4, 4:33). The Holy Spirit was to remember the words and teachings of Jesus to the disciples as they went in their mission to spread the gospel of Jesus.
4. What is the link between the ascension of Jesus and the mission he gives to us?
There is a clear link between the ascension of Christ and His mission to the disciples. Jesus by His resurrection has been given authority on heaven and on earth (Matt. 28:18). Therefore mission is to be done in light of knowing that Christ has risen from the dead and has conquered sin, death, and Satan. Everything has been subjected under His feet and authority (Eph. 1:20-22). Christ will gather to himself people to save them (John 17:2). Now the church is called to step up and carry the message and “preach the gospel to all creation” (Mark 16:15) and so continue what Jesus started thousand of years ago.
The mission of God is to bring forth redemption, salvation, and restoration to all the created order. The end result of such mission will eventually lead to worship, adoration, and glory to God. The promise of Christ’s second coming should be the fuel and motivation to seek, pursue, and continue His mission (v. 11). Jesus’ second coming will usher in the new eschatological age of the kingdom of God.