Term 3 – Week 1
Big Idea – Jesus ascends to heaven – to the place of rule. (God is now seated at the right hand of the Father and is boss over everything)
Luke 24:44-53, Acts 1:1-11
- The children will know that after the resurrection Jesus ascended to heaven where he is now ruling the world but before left, he promised the Holy Spirit would come to take his place.
- The children will understand that the role of the Spirit was to turn people to Jesus for salvation (i.e. to bring people to faith) and then to enable these believers to tell others about Jesus.
- The children will appreciate that the good news of Jesus is now for all the nations (Acts 1:8. Throughout this series the kids will watch Acts 1:8 unfold)
- Encourage and reassure the children that although it may not sometimes look like it, God is in control because Christ is ruling from heaven.
- Challenge to children to think about whether the have made Jesus their Lord and Saviour.
In Acts 1:1 Luke describes his first book (Luke’s Gospel) as being about all that Jesus began to do and teach about himself and the Kingdom of God, before he was taken up to heaven. This is only the start of Jesus’ work, for now he acts through his Spirit-filled and empowered witnesses. Therefore, the book of Acts is about what Jesus continues to do and teach by his Spirit through the apostles. Note in verse 2 that it was ‘through’ the Holy Spirit that Jesus himself spoke!
We must remember as we head into Acts that thee apostles are eyewitnesses – they have seen all that we looked at in last term’s series in Luke – and they have seen the ‘many convincing proofs that he was alive.’ There could be no doubt for these disciples. This lack of doubt would be sufficient to lead many of them to their deaths.
Before Christ was exalted into heaven, he promised to send the Holy Spirit in his place (v4-5). The disciples, without yet the clarity given in their Spirit-filled words, still remain confused about the goal of Jesus’ ministry – is the nation of Israel going to have its kingdom, its former glories, restored? Israel will one day have its glory in the new Kingdom of God, but for now Jesus simply gives them their purpose: To be the Spirit-empowered messengers of God’s plan for salvation, to take the gospel of Jesus to the Jews and then to the nations (Acts 1:8). This begins with the promise of the Holy Spirit, who is sent from the Father to testify to the truth of Jesus, and to enable the apostles and subsequently all believers to share the gospel. After this, Jesus ascended into heaven. This is an important ending to the life of Jesus on earth. He did not die and he remains in heaven to this day. The ascension confirms Jesus as both Lord and Messiah as he sits at the right hand of the Father ruling the world. These opening verses lay down the eschatological framework within which the Christian story is to unfold. The church lives between the ascension and the second coming of Christ, and its life is determined by these boundary markers (v 9-11). He will return, but for now the job of the apostles has been clearly given – to be Jesus’ witnesses.
8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”Acts 1v8
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