But you shall receive power, when the Holy Spirit has come upon you: and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.
The apostles had the greatest news in history to report, yet the Lord told them to wait until they received the Holy Spirit. This underscores how important the working of the Holy Spirit is in ministry. John the Baptist told the people that he was baptizing with water, but the One who came after him would baptize with the Holy Ghost and with fire (Matthew 3:11 and Luke 3:16). Jesus said the same thing, and that the time was near.
The disciples had just asked a question about when Jesus would restore the kingdom to Israel (Acts 1:6). Jesus didn’t directly answer their question but spoke of knowing the time of His second coming as being beyond their control or ability to know. But, He did reveal that, with the coming of the Holy Spirit, certain things would be put under the disciples’ power, and He spoke of the disciples being His witnesses. The power to witness the Gospel to others has been delegated to us, the disciples of Jesus. We have received the power to be witnesses. It is not by God’s choosing that some have still not heard the Gospel. It is because we have not been faithful to be His witnesses.
Acts 1:8 clearly indicates that the Gospel must go to the Gentiles. The Law is the power of sin, but the New Testament believer’s power comes from the Holy Spirit. Break the power of the Law through grace and the power of sin is broken (Romans 6:14). The Greek word used for “power” here means “miraculous power”. That clearly speaks of the presence and anointing of the Holy Spirit as being the power source in believers’ lives. It was this anointing power of the Holy Spirit that worked miracles in the life of Jesus (Acts 10:38). We receive the same Holy Spirit power, and we can expect to see it accomplish the same miraculous works that Jesus did (John 14:12), if we will believe.
There are some excellent reasons for becoming witnesses in this way. Jesus testified that prophets are honored everywhere except in their hometowns among families and friends (Mark 6:4). Typically, home is the hardest place to witness. Starting with those who know us best will cause us to humble ourselves and give God all the glory.
If rejection comes, this tempers us and our witness so that we will be more effective and more resilient when we go to the uttermost parts of the earth. People who have a desire for the millions overseas to be converted, but are unconcerned over the condition of their own families and friends, have a problem. They will not be the kind of witnesses that Jesus needs. Those who are waiting for a worldwide ministry and are not actively pursuing the opportunities at hand will never be used. We need to be faithful in little before God will give us the “many things” (Matthew 25:21).
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