A New Experience (Acts 1:3–8)
Christ ministered to the apostles during the forty days He was on earth after His resurrection. Luke 24:36ff should be read in connection with these verses. In both places, Christ instructed the apostles to remain in Jerusalem and wait for the coming of the Spirit. They were to begin their ministry in Jerusalem.
This baptism of the Spirit had been announced by John the Baptist (Matt. 3:11; Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16; John 1:33). Note that Christ said nothing about a baptism with fire, for the fire baptism refers to judgment. The coming of the Spirit would unite all the believers into one body, to be known as the church (see 1 Cor. 12:13). The Spirit would also give the believers power to witness to the lost. Finally, the Spirit would enable the believers to speak in tongues and perform other miraculous deeds to awaken the Jews. (See 1 Cor. 1:22—the Jews require a sign.) There are actually two occurrences of this Spirit baptism in Acts; in chapter 2, when He baptized the Jews; and in chapter 10 (see 11:16) when He came upon the Gentile believers. According to Eph. 2:11ff, the body of Christ is composed of Jews and Gentiles, all baptized into this spiritual body. We may ask God to fill us (Eph. 5:18) or empower us for special service (Acts 10:38), but we should not pray for His baptism.
Were the apostles correct in asking Christ about the kingdom (vv. 6–8)? Yes. In Matt. 22:1–10, Christ had promised to give the nation of Israel another opportunity to receive Him and the kingdom. In Matt. 19:28 Christ promised that the apostles would sit on twelve thrones (see Luke 22:28–30). In Matt. 12:31–45, Christ stated that Israel would have another opportunity to be saved even after sinning against the Son, and He promised to give them a sign to encourage them. It was the sign of Jonah: death, burial, and resurrection. The apostles knew that their ministry would begin with Israel; now they wanted to know what Israel would do. Would the nation accept or reject their message? Christ had not told them whether it would or would not. If He had told the apostles that Israel would spurn this good news, they could not have given their people an honest offer; their ministry would have been false. What He did tell them was that they would be witnesses, starting in Jerusalem, and eventually reaching across the world.