1. TEACH ALL NATIONS
a. What commission did Jesus give to His followers? Matthew 28:19, 20.
“The gospel commission is the great missionary charter of Christ’s kingdom. The disciples were to work earnestly for souls, giving to all the invitation of mercy. They were not to wait for the people to come to them; they were to go to the people with their message.”—The Acts of the Apostles, p. 28.
b. How would their work progress, and how far would it extend? Acts 1:8.
“Although My people would not come to Me that they might have life, although priests and rulers have done unto Me as they listed, although they have rejected Me, they shall have still another opportunity of accepting the Son of God. You have seen that all who come to Me confessing their sins, I freely receive. Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out. To you, My disciples, I commit this message of mercy. It is to be given to both Jews and Gentiles—to Israel, first, and then to all nations, tongues, and peoples. All who believe are to be gathered into one church.”—Ibid., pp. 27, 28.
2. SLOW TO LEARN
a. How were the disciples often distracted as Jesus tried to forewarn them of His arrest and crucifixion? Mark 9:31–34; Luke 22:21–24.
“On the journey through Galilee, Christ had again tried to prepare the minds of His disciples for the scenes before Him. He told them that He was to go up to Jerusalem to be put to death and to rise again. And He added the strange and solemn announcement that He was to be betrayed into the hands of His enemies. The disciples did not even now comprehend His words. Although the shadow of a great sorrow fell upon them, a spirit of rivalry found a place in their hearts. They disputed among themselves which should be accounted greatest in the kingdom. This strife they thought to conceal from Jesus, and they did not, as usual, press close to His side, but loitered behind, so that He was in advance of them as they entered Capernaum. Jesus read their thoughts, and He longed to counsel and instruct them. But for this He awaited a quiet hour, when their hearts should be open to receive His words.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 432.
“The disciples clung to their favorite idea that Christ would assert His power, and take His position on the throne of David. And in heart each still longed for the highest place in the kingdom. They had placed their own estimate upon themselves and upon one another, and, instead of regarding their brethren as more worthy, they had placed themselves first.”—Ibid., pp. 643, 644.
b. How did these things take them by surprise? Luke 24:13–22.
“Strange that the disciples did not remember Christ’s words, and realize that He had foretold the events which had come to pass! They did not realize that the last part of His disclosure would be just as verily fulfilled as the first part, that the third day He would rise again. This was the part they should have remembered. The priests and rulers did not forget this. On the day ‘that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate, saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while He was yet alive, After three days I will rise again.’ Matthew 27:62, 63. But the disciples did not remember these words.”—Ibid., p. 796.
3. ANOTHER TEACHER PROMISED
a. How would Jesus continue to teach the disciples after His ascension? John 16:12, 13.
b. How does the Spirit teach and correct us? John 16:8.
“The preaching of the word is of no avail without the presence and aid of the Holy Spirit; for this Spirit is the only effectual teacher of divine truth. Only when the truth is accompanied to the heart by the Spirit, will it quicken the conscience or transform the life. A minister may be able to present the letter of the word of God; he may be familiar with all its commands and promises; but his sowing of the gospel seed will not be successful unless this seed is quickened into life by the dew of heaven. Without the cooperation of the Spirit of God, no amount of education, no advantages, however great, can make one a channel of light. Before one book of the New Testament had been written, before one gospel sermon had been preached after Christ’s ascension, the Holy Spirit came upon the praying disciples. Then the testimony of their enemies was, ‘Ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine.’”—Gospel Workers, p. 284.
c. What special gift does God give the remnant? Revelation 12:17; 19:10. Where do we find this gift at work today?
“I took the precious Bible and surrounded it with the several Testimonies for the Church, given for the people of God. Here, said I, the cases of nearly all are met. The sins they are to shun are pointed out. . . . But there are not many of you that really know what is contained in the Testimonies. You are not familiar with the Scriptures. If you had made God’s word your study, with a desire to reach the Bible standard and attain to Christian perfection, you would not have needed the Testimonies. It is because you have neglected to acquaint yourselves with God’s inspired Book that He has sought to reach you by simple, direct testimonies, calling your attention to the words of inspiration which you had neglected to obey, and urging you to fashion your lives in accordance with its pure and elevated teachings.”—Testimonies, vol. 2, p. 605.
4. THE SPIRIT GIVEN
a. How was the promise of the Spirit repeated? Acts 1:4–9.
“Jesus had opened before His disciples a vast tract of truth. But it was most difficult for them to keep His lessons distinct from the traditions and maxims of the scribes and Pharisees. . . . Earthly ideas, temporal things, still had a large place in their thoughts. They did not understand the spiritual nature of Christ’s kingdom, though He had so often explained it to them. Their minds had become confused. They did not comprehend the value of the scriptures Christ presented. Many of His lessons seemed almost lost upon them. Jesus saw that they did not lay hold of the real meaning of His words. He compassionately promised that the Holy Spirit should recall these sayings to their minds. And He had left unsaid many things that could not be comprehended by the disciples. These also would be opened to them by the Spirit. The Spirit was to quicken their understanding, that they might have an appreciation of heavenly things.”—The Desire of Ages, pp. 670, 671.
b. What happened when the promise was fulfilled? Acts 2:1–4.
“Under the influence of this heavenly illumination the scriptures that Christ had explained to the disciples stood out before them with the luster of perfect truth. The veil that had prevented them from seeing to the end of that which had been abolished, was now removed, and they comprehended with perfect clearness the object of Christ’s mission and the nature of His kingdom. They could speak with power of the Saviour; and as they unfolded to their hearers the plan of salvation, many were convicted and convinced.”—The Acts of the Apostles, p. 44.
“What was the result of the outpouring of the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost? The glad tidings of a risen Saviour were carried to the uttermost parts of the inhabited world. As the disciples proclaimed the message of redeeming grace, hearts yielded to the power of this message. . . . Every Christian saw in his brother a revelation of divine love and benevolence. One interest prevailed; one subject of emulation swallowed up all others. The ambition of the believers was to reveal the likeness of Christ’s character and to labor for the enlargement of His kingdom.”—Ibid., p. 48.
5. TO ALL THE WORLD
a. How were some early believers gently rebuked for their failure to advance in knowledge? Hebrews 5:12.
“Many who ought to be teachers, have hardly learned the alphabet of the Christian life. They need constantly that one teach them. They do not grow in holiness, in faith, in hope, in joy, in gratitude. Christ opened the way, at an infinite cost, that we might live a Christian life. . . . It was by faith in Christ that the great apostle maintained the consistency and beauty of his course. He suffered opposition, insult, persecution, imprisonment, with a firmness and meekness which none but Christ could impart. Our obligations are no less than were his. Our privileges are great, our opportunities abundant. Great light is shining upon us, but it will become darkness to those who refuse to follow its guidance.”—The Review and Herald, May 30, 1882.
b. What work is still to be done, and how? Matthew 24:14.
“The Spirit of the Almighty is moving upon men’s hearts, and those who respond to its influence become witnesses for God and His truth. In many places consecrated men and women may be seen communicating to others the light that has made plain to them the way of salvation through Christ. And as they continue to let their light shine, as did those who were baptized with the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, they receive more and still more of the Spirit’s power. Thus the earth is to be lightened with the glory of God.”—The Acts of the Apostles, p. 54.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. How does the Great Commission challenge me today?
2. Why were the disciples taken by surprise by Jesus’ arrest and crucifixion?
3. What is the role of the Holy Spirit in education?
4. How were the early Christians changed by the outpouring of the Spirit?
5. What education is needed by the world prior to the Second Coming?