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A Special Gift

Key References: Acts 1:3-8; The Desire of Ages, chaps. 81-86, pp. 779-828; Acts of the Apostles, chaps. 2, 3, pp. 17-34; The Bible Story (1994), vol. 9, pp. 161-164; vol. 10, 9-13; Our Beliefs nos. 5, 11, 17

Power Text

“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 1:8).

Power Point

The Holy Spirit helps us to understand and share God’s Word.

Imagine what it would be like to have a friend who was always there, no matter where you were, what happened, or how you felt. This friend would encourage you, help you, and show you the right thing to do. Wouldn’t that be wonderful? Jesus promised everyone who believes in Him just such a friend—the Holy Spirit.

Never have the disciples felt such despair. Jesus has died. All their hopes have died with Him. They huddle behind locked doors in the upper room. Could it really have been only three days since they ate the Passover supper with Jesus in this very room? It seems impossible. They are too discouraged to remember the words that Jesus spoke to them then: “After I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee” (Matthew 26:32).

Suddenly another person is visible among them. It is Jesus. He raises His hands, as they have seen Him do hundreds of times, and says, “Peace be with you.” They are terrified. Then Jesus speaks again. “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself!”

They can’t believe their senses. Jesus says, “Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.” The disciples still have a hard time believing their eyes and their ears.

Finally Jesus asks them “Do you have anything here to eat?” They give Him a piece of roasted fish, and Jesus eats it in front of them. By this they receive the assurance that He is alive, that He is a real flesh-and-blood person. The shock finally wears off, and Jesus talks to His disciples. “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about Me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms.”

Then Jesus helps them to understand what has been written about Him in the Bible. He explains again how the Messiah had to suffer and die and rise again. He explains God’s plan to forgive sins through His death on the cross.

Now the disciples begin to understand that Jesus’ mission was not to restore the kingdom to the Jewish nation. He did not come to take David’s throne as king of the Jews. His was a spiritual kingdom. Jesus called His followers and friends to an important work for His kingdom, telling them: “You are witnesses of these things.” He called them to preach in His name to all nations, beginning in Jerusalem (see Luke 24:36-48).

Jesus tells the disciples that before they begin their mission to the world they must wait to receive a special gift: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised” (Acts 1:4). The disciples needed to be united in prayer as they waited for this special gift. “In a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit,” Jesus promises them. Then He continues, “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” (see Acts 1:4-8). Jesus promises that He will always be with them through the Holy Spirit, God’s special gift.

The disciples wait. They all join together in prayer. They meet together in the upper room. They meet together at the Temple. Now they are eager to pray, knowing that Jesus has gone to the Father and hears their prayers. They review all the things that Jesus has taught them. One by one they remember the things that Jesus had said. How could they not have understood Jesus’ words about His kingdom? His teaching seems so clear now. Jesus has been so patient with them.

Now no one is concerned about who will be the greatest. They are concerned about telling the world about Jesus, His life, His death, and His resurrection. The Holy Spirit empowers them to take the story of Jesus to every country, to every nation, to all the people in the world.