Acts 1:8

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you,
and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria,
 and to the end of the earth.
Acts 1:8
What was it like to hear these words, so full of power and promise, the very words of Jesus recorded by Luke, just before Jesus ascended into heaven on the clouds?
Jesus’ disciples had left homes, businesses, fishing boats, and friends to follow him. During their time with Jesus, they saw him break nets with an impossible catch of fish, break bread to feed impossible crowds of people, break the Sabbath to heal broken and diseased bodies. Jesus calmed raging seas and made the blind to see. He healed people so they could walk again, and he walked on water, walked into a wedding feast and turned water into the finest wine. When Jesus spoke, demons, disease, and even death obeyed him.
His own brutal death could not keep him in the tomb, and a heavy stone is no match for the Son of God, who turns stone hearts into flesh, returned from the grave in the flesh, ‘presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God’ (Acts 1:3).
And now, Jesus leaves them?  
I imagine his disciples, like children, tugging on his robe to keep him from going. How powerless they must have felt, wondering when and how all the brokenness around them would be restored, wondering what the future held for them and for their families.
He answers, ‘It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.’ (Acts 1:7-8).
Having seen Jesus with their own eyes both before and after his resurrection, having shared the bread and the cup with their own mouths, having heard his parables and teachings with their own ears, having touched Jesus’ scars with their own hands (John 20:27), Jesus’ disciples receive power from the Holy Spirit to be witnesses. They give evidence to all they have tasted, seen, heard, and touched so that others will believe. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, they offer words, spoken and written, so that even we ‘may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing may have life in his name’ (John 20:31).
It is in our weakness that God’s strength is perfect; it is in our powerlessness that we by faith receive his power. And though there is great mystery in it, all who believe in Jesus receive power from the Holy Spirit, and that power has a purpose. It’s not a power of knowing; we’re not omniscient or able to discern the times and seasons God has planned. We receive power to be witnesses. We receive power to give evidence to all that Christ has done for us, in our homes, in our neighborhoods, in our country, and to the end of the earth.
Questions for Reflection:

  1. How did you first hear about Jesus Christ? Was it through a parent, sibling, friend, teacher, stranger? Thank God for sending his Holy Spirit to empower that person to share their faith story with you.
  2. Pray for those closest to you who do not believe in Jesus. Ask God to empower you through his Holy Spirit to share your faith story with them, so that they too may have life in his name.
Rebecca Janni | Author

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