- The Jewish people, and thus Jesus’ disciples, expected that when the Messiah came, he would deliver Israel from the Romans and become king over Israel (Luke 19:11, Luke 24:21, John 6:15).
- The first time Jesus came to earth, he came to suffer and die for humanity (Mark 10:45).
- When Jesus comes back a second time, he will reign as king over the whole world (Rev 20).
- In the Old Testament, there is a close connection between the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and the restoration of Israel, so it is not surprising that the disciples ask this question after Jesus has spoken about the Holy Spirit (Joel 2:28-3:1).
- Jesus does not say that the disciples are wrong in their question, but emphasizes that they should stop thinking about when Israel will be restored and focus on the mission; to bear witness to Jesus everywhere on earth.
- Jesus wants the disciples to lift their eyes and stop thinking only about Israel and go out into the whole world to preach the message of Jesus (Matt 28:19, Mark 16:15, Luke 24:47, John 17:18).
- The “power” that the disciples ask for is a political and worldly power, but the power that Jesus refers to is a “spiritual” power with a special purpose: to be Jesus’ witnesses and to spread the gospel throughout the earth.
- Being a witness of Jesus is not an order from Jesus but rather an effect of being filled with the Holy Spirit. Thus, if one wants to be a witness of Jesus, one should ask to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
- Historically, when the Church has become rich and large, there has always been a temptation to use that power politically.
- Where it says “witnesses” in English, it says “martys” in Greek.
- To be a martyr is to be a witness of Jesus, whether you are executed for your faith or not.
- The Acts of the Apostles in general follows the same geographical pattern that Jesus is telling us about here; Acts 1-7 is about the gospel in Jerusalem, Acts 8-12 is about the gospel in Judea and Samaria, Acts 13-28 is about the gospel in the rest of the world.
- One can imagine that the disciples had many objections to the places Jesus mentioned: in Jerusalem Jesus was crucified (Mark 10:33), in Samaria lived the Samaritans, the Jews’ enemies (John 4:9), and at the ends of the earth lived Gentiles with whom the Jews did not want to have fellowship (Galatians 1:12). Jesus challenges his disciples to forgive and turn the other cheek.
- Just as Jesus took off from the Mount of Olives and disappeared among the clouds to take his rightful place at the right hand of God (Acts 7:56, Hebrews 12:2), so he will return to the Mount of Olives (Zech 14:4) among the clouds (Dan 7:13, Mark 14:62, Revelation 1:7) to reign on earth as well (Revelation 20:4).
- The disciples had had the luxury of getting to know Jesus personally, but now no longer have that opportunity (2 Corinthians 5:16). From now on, the disciples can begin to know the Holy Spirit.
- It was better for the disciples that Jesus went away among the clouds because then he could send the Holy Spirit to them (John 16:7). The Holy Spirit will teach and remind the disciples of all that Jesus has taught (John 14:26).