What does Acts 1:3-5 really mean?

Acts 1:3-5 is about Jesus presenting himself alive to his disciples after his resurrection, instructing them to wait in Jerusalem for the promised Holy Spirit, which would empower them to spread the gospel message to the ends of the earth.

3 He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.
4 And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me;
5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.


Setting the Scene for Acts 1:3-5

The scene in Acts chapter 1 opens with the disciples gathered together in Jerusalem, just days after Jesus’ resurrection. The group consists of the eleven remaining apostles, including Peter, John, James, and the others who had been following Jesus throughout his ministry. They are still reeling from the events of the past weeks – the crucifixion, the resurrection, and the appearances of Jesus to them.

The disciples are in the upper room of a house, a familiar and safe space where they had shared meals and prayers with Jesus before. The atmosphere is charged with a mix of emotions – confusion, fear, excitement, and anticipation. They are grappling with the reality of Jesus’ resurrection and trying to make sense of what it means for them and their mission. In the midst of this uncertainty, Jesus appears to them, offering reassurance and instructions for the days ahead. He speaks to them about the kingdom of God and the coming of the Holy Spirit, preparing them for the task of spreading the gospel to the ends of the earth.

What is Acts 1:3-5 about?

Jesus appears before his disciples after his resurrection in this verse and imparts crucial teachings about the kingdom of God. It is a moment where Jesus reinforces the significance of the spiritual realm and how his followers should align their lives with this kingdom. This encounter serves as a pivotal moment in the disciples’ understanding of their faith and their mission in spreading the teachings of Jesus.

Imagine being one of the disciples in that moment, receiving direct instruction from Jesus himself about the kingdom of God and being promised the gift of the Holy Spirit to guide and empower you. It must have been a moment filled with awe and a deep sense of responsibility. This verse emphasizes the divine guidance and support that believers receive through the Holy Spirit, and it underscores the importance of living in alignment with God’s kingdom in all aspects of our lives. It challenges us to reflect on our own understanding of the kingdom of God and how we can embody its principles in our daily actions and interactions with others.

Understanding what Acts 1:3-5 really means

In Acts 1:3-5, we delve into the early days of the Christian church post-Jesus’ resurrection. These verses serve to highlight Jesus’ appearances after His resurrection, His teachings to the apostles, and the assurance of the Holy Spirit’s coming. The phrase “He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs” underscores the foundational truth of Jesus’ resurrection, supported by undeniable evidence provided to His followers. During the forty days of His appearances, Jesus focused on instructing His disciples about the kingdom of God, preparing them for their mission ahead.

Jesus’ specific instruction for the apostles to remain in Jerusalem and await the promise of the Holy Spirit was crucial for their empowerment and guidance. The contrast between John’s baptism with water and the forthcoming baptism with the Holy Spirit emphasizes the transformative nature of the Spirit’s work. This waiting period echoes in Luke 24:49, where Jesus directs His disciples to stay until they are “clothed with power from on high,” reinforcing the significance of awaiting the Holy Spirit’s arrival. In John 14:16-17, Jesus promises the perpetual presence of the Holy Spirit as the “Helper,” offering comfort and guidance.

The prophecy in Joel 2:28-29 about God pouring out His Spirit on all people finds fulfillment in the events of Pentecost, underscoring the continuity of God’s plan through the ages. Today, the promise of the Holy Spirit remains relevant as believers lean on Him for guidance, comfort, and empowerment in their daily lives. Just as the disciples had to wait and prepare, we too encounter seasons of patient anticipation, trusting in God’s timing and provision. Consider Sarah, who, like the disciples, faced a period of uncertainty before launching a community outreach program. Through prayer and preparation, she found clarity and direction, mirroring the disciples’ experience of waiting for the Holy Spirit’s empowerment.

Acts 1:3-5 reminds us of the essential aspects of the Christian faith—the resurrection, the kingdom of God, and the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. It prompts us to embrace patience, knowing that God equips us in His perfect timing for the tasks He sets before us. The promise of the Holy Spirit assures us that we are never alone in our journey of faith, always guided and strengthened by His presence. Let us take to heart the lessons from these verses, trusting in God’s provision and relying on the Holy Spirit for wisdom and empowerment in our lives.

How can we receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit?

The baptism of the Holy Spirit is a gift from God that believers can receive through faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus told the disciples in Acts 1:3-5 to wait in Jerusalem for this promise. This passage emphasizes the importance of waiting on God and seeking Him earnestly through prayer and faith.

To receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit, believers should seek a deeper relationship with God, surrender their lives to Him, and pray for this empowering experience. It is not something that can be earned or achieved through our own efforts, but rather it is a gift from God that is given to those who earnestly seek Him. Believers today should wait on God, expectantly anticipating His promise to be fulfilled in their lives, just as the disciples waited in obedience and unity. Believers open themselves to the transforming work of the Spirit in their lives by seeking the baptism of the Holy Spirit with a sincere heart. This empowering experience equips them for service, strengthens their faith, and enables them to walk in the fullness of God’s power and presence. Through faith and obedience, believers can receive this precious gift and experience a deeper intimacy with God.


Reflect on how Jesus dedicated 40 days after His resurrection to teach about God’s kingdom. Like the disciples, let’s prepare ourselves to embrace the power of the Holy Spirit. Will you commit to exploring the depths of God’s kingdom and eagerly welcome the Holy Spirit into your life?