As teenagers, you might be questioning where you fit in the grand scheme of things. Perhaps you’re asking questions about your purpose or even doubting your faith. The book of Acts can provide guidance as it follows the lives of the apostles and the early church after Jesus’ ascension. In Acts 1:1-11, we see Jesus’ final moments with his disciples before he returned to heaven, leaving them with a mission that still applies to us today.
Bible Reading 1: Acts 1:1-5
1In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach 2until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. 3After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. 4On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5For John baptized with water, but in a few days, you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
- Acts is a book that follows the lives of the apostles and the early church.
- In these verses, Luke, the author of Acts, is giving a summary of what happened in his previous book, the Gospel of Luke.
- Jesus appeared to his disciples after his resurrection and gave them many convincing proofs that he was alive.
- Jesus commanded his disciples to wait in Jerusalem for the gift that his father had promised, which is the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
- John baptized with water, but Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would baptize his disciples soon.
Bible Reading 2: Acts 1:6-11
6Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”
7He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8But 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.”
9After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.
10They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11“Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”
- In these verses, the disciples are asking Jesus if he’s going to restore the kingdom of Israel.
- Jesus tells them that it’s not for them to know when that will happen but assures them that they will receive the power of the Holy Spirit.
- The Holy Spirit will enable them to become Jesus’ witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
- As Jesus speaks, he ascends to heaven, leaving the disciples in awe.
- Two men in white remind the disciples that Jesus will return one day just as he left.
Youth Group Discussion Questions
1. Why do you think Jesus told the disciples to wait in Jerusalem for the Holy Spirit instead of just giving it to them on the spot?
2. What do you think the disciples expected Jesus to do before he ascended to heaven?
3. Why do you think Jesus told the disciples that they would be his witnesses to the ends of the earth?
4. How can we become Jesus’ witnesses in our own communities and schools?
Youth Group Game: The Power of the Holy Spirit
Explain to the teenagers that they will play a game to see how the Holy Spirit empowers them to accomplish tasks. Divide them into teams of two, and give each team a set of tasks to complete while blindfolded. One person is the leader, and the other is the follower. The leader must instruct the follower, and the follower must follow the instructions to complete the task in a given time. After the game, ask the teenagers how the Holy Spirit helped them during the game.
God, thank you for sending your son Jesus to die for us and to show us the way to live. Thank you for the Holy Spirit, who empowers us to become your witnesses. Please help us to be bold in sharing your love with others and to carry out the mission that you have given us. Amen.