Introduction: Have you ever faced a crisis in your life when someone
let you down? You had a certain plan for the future, but then your
plans all changed. Do you remember the turmoil in your mind? You did
not know what to believe and you did not know what the future held.
I think that is where we meet the disciples in this lesson. Let’s
dive into our study of the Bible and learn more!
- Wrong View
- Read Mark 10:35-36. Have you ever had someone ask you,
“Will you do something for me?” or “Are you free Tuesday
night?” Do you answer those questions, or instead ask
your own question: “Why?” (I know those questions are
almost always trouble, so I don’t answer unless I find out
what they have in mind. We see that Jesus is equally
- Read Mark 10:37-39. Jesus tells them that they do not know
what they are asking. This is undoubtedly true. What do
you think that they believed they were asking? (They spoke
of “glory.” They thought Jesus was going to be King and
they wanted to have the top places in His kingdom on
- Read Acts 1:6-7. Are James and John the only disciples
thinking that Jesus is going to “restore the kingdom to
Israel?” (No! Even at this late date, immediately before
Jesus is about to return to heaven, the disciples still
have the wrong view of the future.)
- Read Acts 1:4-5 and Mark 10:32-34. This is what Jesus said
just before James and John asked their question and the
disciples asked their question. How do you explain their
failure to pay attention? (They should have been focused
on the coming Holy Spirit or that fact that Jesus just
said He was about to be killed. Instead, they considered
what they wanted to happen, and seemingly paid no
attention to what Jesus actually said.)
- Correct View
- Read Acts 1:8-9. What future did Jesus have in view for
the disciples? (They would be witnesses on earth, not
- If you were a disciple, how would you react to that
change in your plans?
- What general plan does Jesus set out for witnessing?
(Their place of witnessing was an increasingly large
circle, to include the entire world.)
- When the disciples asked about restoring the “Kingdom
to Israel,” do you think they meant just Israel, or
that Israel would rule the world?
- Read Acts 1:10-11. What were the disciples thinking when
Jesus rose up into heaven?
- What were their thoughts when the angels told them
Jesus was coming back?
- Read Luke 24:44-52. This is another look at the time Jesus
returned to heaven. It reports that the disciples were
filled with “great joy.” How did that happen, considering
that just a while before they were confused about the
- How did that happen when I’m sure they must have been
bitterly disappointed not to be rulers on earth? (I’m
not sure they completely understood, but I suspect
they thought that if they completed their witnessing
goals, Jesus would return and set up His Kingdom.
That gave them joy. It was merely delayed
- Real World
- Read Acts 1:12-14. If life is going the wrong way, or if
you are confused about the future, what should you do?
(Pray! That is what the disciples and Jesus’ closest
friends and family did.)
- Read Acts 1:15-17. Consider the words of Peter, and tell
me what you think was the subject of the prayers in the
upstairs room? (Peter talks about the Scripture and
prophecies. He talks about the Holy Spirit. I think they
were going over the prophecies about Jesus, and asking for
the direction of the Holy Spirit. No doubt they wanted to
know where they went wrong in their future plan. No doubt
Judas’ failure was a sobering warning about missing the
mark on God’s plan.)
- Read Acts 1:18-20. What direction does the Bible give with
regard to future leadership? (It says that someone should
take the place of Judas.)
- Read Acts 1:21-22. What qualifications must the
replacement disciple possess? (Some man who is an eye
witness to all of Jesus’ ministry, including His
- Think about this. Why would this be what they needed
in a replacement disciple? (This shows they have
caught the correct vision for the future. They are
looking for a witness, not a political leader. They
now understand their future on earth.)
- Read Acts 1:23-26. Why does the Holy Spirit have to choose
between the two men previously selected by the group of
- Why not let the Holy Spirit chose from among all 120
- Some churches still choose leaders this way. Why
don’t all churches?
- What does this teach us about decision making in our
life? (We see that in the big picture, we might well
have it wrong – and God will correct us. But, we
also see a strong component of human judgment and
choice. What we see here is a joint project between
the Holy Spirit and humans.)
- Read Acts 13:1-3. Why does the Holy Spirit unilaterally
make the decision here?
- Read Acts 16:6-10. Here we see the Holy Spirit physically
(it seems) preventing Paul from preaching in certain
areas. Why not make a joint decision with Paul?
- When Acts 16:10 says that Paul and his fellow
evangelists were “concluding” that God called them to
preach in Macedonia, what does that say about the
certainty of their decision? (This seems so much like
us. We are not sure what to do. We want to do God’s
will. Some paths we wanted to take are blocked, but
then we see a sign that we should take a certain
path. We “conclude,” as best we can, what God wants.
We don’t have the certainty that we would have with
divine lots or the Holy Spirit giving a special
- What direction do these texts give us when it comes to
choosing church leaders and making future plans for the
church? (If we are looking to God, he will direct our
plans. It is just fine for us, based on prayer and common
sense, to make plans. But, we need to invite the Holy
Spirit to either make small or large changes in our plans
to advance the Kingdom of God.)
- Friend, have you been disappointed about the future? Did
your plans not work out as you thought? Did you pray and
invite the Holy Spirit to direct your future? If you did,
then you should start with what you think you should do,
and look for the Holy Spirit to direct your paths.
- Next week: Pentecost.