Getting Unstuck

The Story:  Ascension Through Pentecost

The disciple’s have been peppering Jesus with questions about when Israel might be freed and its kingdom restored.

“Those dates are set by the Father and are not for you to know,” Jesus said.

Then he told them that the Holy Spirit was going to come upon them and they “receive power from on high and become his witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Next Jesus leads the disciples toward Bethany, where he lifts his hands up in the air and blesses them.  While blessing them he was lifted up into the sky and then he disappeared into a cloud.

The disciples just stood there for a while, straining their eyes to see him, when two white-robed men suddenly stood among them, asking:

“Galileans, why are you standing here staring at the sky?  Jesus has been taken into heaven.  One day you will see him return in the same way he left.”

Then they all returned to Jerusalem with great joy worshipping and praising God.”

They stayed in an upstairs room.  The group consisted of the disciples: Peter and John, James and Andrew; Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James.

Also there were Jesus brothers; along with his mother Mary and some other women. They joined together continually in prayer.

One man, Matthias, who had been with Jesus from the beginning, was chosen to be an apostle and take the place of Judas Iscariot who had betrayed Jesus and later died.

Seven weeks went by. On the day of the feast of Pentecost, they were all together in one place when there came from heaven a sound like the blowing of a violent wind and it filled the whole house.

They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages as the Spirit guided them.

In Jerusalem that day were devout Jews from every nation in the world living in Jerusalem. When they heard the sounds of Pentecost, a great crowd gathered. The people were astonished because each one heard his language being spoken by the disciples.

In wonder, they asked, “Aren’t these people from Galilee? How is it that we hear, each of us in our own language, as they share about the mighty works of God.” They were amazed and asked each other, “What does this mean?”  Some, however, made fun of the disciples saying, “They are drunk!”

Peter stood up with the other eleven apostles, and shouted, saying, “Listen to me, my fellow Jews and residents of Jerusalem. These people are not drunk as you are saying. It is only 9:00 a.m.! This is what the prophet Joel wrote about centuries ago:

In the last days, God said, I will pour out my Spirit upon all people and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy and your young men shall see visions and your old men shall dream dreams…And I will show wondrous things in the heaven above and signs on the earth beneath, blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke; the sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood, before the day of the Lord comes. And it shall be that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Peter cried, “Israelites, listen!  God publically endorsed Jesus of Nazareth by doing mighty works and miracles through him.  You delivered Jesus up (according to God’s definite plan) to be crucified and killed. But God raised him up and freed him from the agony of death, because it was not possible for death to hold him.

David said about Jesus:  “I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken. Therefore, my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices. My body will live in hope because you will not abandon me to the grave.”

Peter continued, “I can tell you confidently that David both died and was buried and his tomb is with us to this day. Being a prophet, David knew that God made an oath that one day he would set one of his descendants upon the throne.

The one whom David  predicted would come is this Jesus.  God raised Jesus from the dead and we are all witnesses of this fact.

Jesus is now exalted to the right hand of God.

As Jesus said would happen, the Father has given us the Holy Spirit.  What you see and hear today is the Holy Spirit.

This is evidence, Israelites, that God has made this Jesus (whom you crucified) both Lord and Christ (the Messiah).

The people were convicted deeply by Peter’s words and they asked, “What should we do?”  Peter said:  “Each of you should repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

The promise is for you and your children and even for the Gentiles – for all have been called by our God.

Peter preached for a long time, warning the people:  “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” Those who accepted Jesus message were baptized and added to the church – about 3,000 people that day.

The disciples all devoted themselves to the apostle’s teaching and to fellowship.  They shared the Lord’s Supper together and prayed.  They were filled with awe as the apostles did many miracles.  All the believers stuck together and shared with each other.  They sold their possessions and shared with anyone who was in need.  Daily they worshipped in the temple and shared meals together in their homes. As they ate together they were filled with joy and sincere hearts of praise for God.  All the community was impressed by their lifestyle.  As a result, the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.


Questions of Fact:

• What did the disciples do following Jesus ascension?  (Pray.)
• About how many believers were there at that time? (120.)
• What happened on the Day of Pentecost among the believers?
• What did the people in the community think was happening?
• Who was the spokesperson for the Apostles?
• What else happened in this story worth noting?

Questions of Inference:

• At first, why do you think they prayed instead of witnessing?
• What does this teach us about the importance of prayer?
• What does this teach about the importance of waiting on God?
• When the Holy Spirit came, what did the disciples do then?
• What was significant about speaking in different languages?
• What happened as people were convicted by Peter’s message?
• Why do you think they were baptized immediately?
• What are some of the benefits of immediate baptism?
• What are some of the difficulties in immediate baptism?
• How did the early believers live out their faith?
• How do believers in our congregation live out their faith?
• How did the people respond to the believer’s lifestyle?
• How do the people in your community feel about our church?
• Where did the first believers meet? Where do we meet?
• What are the difficulties in meeting only in a church building?
• What are the benefits of meeting only in the church building?
• What are the difficulties in meeting in homes?
• What are the benefits of meeting in homes?
• Where else might we meet as a church?
• What was the apostle’s plan for evangelism?
• Who added to their number those who were being saved?
• What do you think would happen in your community if the believers in your church began acting in the same way as the believers following Pentecost, living in joy and constant praise for God’s goodness?

Questions relating the Story to the Lives of the Hearers

• What is important about this story as it relates to you life?
• What do you like about the story?
• What character (s) did you most identify with in the story?
• What character (s) did you least identify with in the story?
• What is important about this story as it relates to our church?
• What should be celebrated about our church?
• What things might need to be changed about us?
• How might this story inspire us to move forward?
• What will you do differently as a result of hearing this story?




Some of these questions are inspired and/or borrowed from LaNette W. Thompson in a document that can be found at

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