Have you ever felt disappointed by someone—by a family member, a community, a church, a country, or even God? How does your disappointment affect your behavior? How does it affect your ability to make good decisions going forward? How has disappointment affected you in the past, and how have you dealt with it?
1. When Jesus died, the disciples were probably pretty disappointment. How did they react?
2. What about when Jesus rose from the dead? How did the disciples react then? (Read Luke 24:36-37, John 20:26-27, Matthew 28:16-17)
3. Without checking, do you know long Jesus stayed with the disciples after rising from the dead? (Read Acts 1:1-3)
a. Do you know why the church celebrates the Ascension on a Thursday?
b. Do you think the number of days is accurate or symbolic?
4. The book of Acts starts by saying Jesus was “seen by them” during this period.
a. Without checking, what do you think he was doing?
b. Now read John 21:26, 1 Corinthians 15:6 Are you surprised by the Corinthians’ story?
5. What do you think the disciples expected to happen next after, say, a month of traveling with the risen Lord? Were they expecting Jesus’ ascension?
6. Read Acts 1:4-8. Given how well the disciples listened to Jesus prophecies of his resurrection, what do you think they made of Jesus’ promise about the Holy Spirit?
7. Read Acts 1:9-11. How do you think the disciples felt when Jesus left them again? Would you feel disappointed, if someone you thought you’d lost returned briefly, then left you alone?
8. Do you know where the Ascension took place? (Read Mark 16:19, Luke 24:50-51, Matthew 28:16-20, Acts 1:12)
9. What’s the first thing the disciples did after Jesus ascended into heaven? (Read Acts 1:12-14)
10. What’s the first decision the disciples took after Jesus ascended into heaven? (Read Acts 1:15-26)
11. The disciples added Matthias as a twelfth apostle, but he never appears again in the book of Acts. (Neither do several other apostles—do you know which ones?
a. Matthias (and other “missing” apostles) do appear in apocryphal texts; there is even a book called the Acts of Andrew and Matthias, in which Matthias preaches to cannibals. Why might apocryphal stories have been written about them?
b. Some interpretations hold that Matthias’ election was a mistake, made because the disciples acted without waiting for the Holy Spirit to come on them. What do you think?
c. Some interpretations say God did not approve of Matthias as a twelfth apostle, and picked Paul instead. (Read Colossians 1:1). What do you think?
d. Still other traditions hold that Matthias’ election is a template of how churches should elect their leaders. Could this be true? (Read Acts 6:2-6, 13:1-3)
12. Why do you think Luke starts the book of Acts with these two stories (Jesus’ ascension and the election of Matthias)?
a. Why start with the Ascension?
b. Why include Matthias?
13. Thinking of what the disciples did after Jesus left them, what lessons might we draw about how to deal with disappointment, and how to make good decisions, even when we feel let down by someone?