“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
Don’t you love Acts 1:8? What a great promise given to us that we will receive power through the Holy Spirit to carry the Good News of Jesus Christ to the rest of the world. But can we pause for a minute and put this verse back into it’s context?
Jesus had risen from the dead and appeared to the apostles. He had appeared to them over a period of 40 days and spoke about the kingdom of God. The apostles wondered when Jesus was going to restore the kingdom to Israel, believing from His resurrection that He was, in fact, the true Messiah. However, they likely still expected the restoration of a military and political kingdom that would drive out the Roman armies and restore national sovereignty to Israel. But Jesus corrected them in Acts 1:8 by telling them that they would receive power from the Holy Spirit, not in order to triumph over Roman armies, but to spread the Good News of the Gospel throughout the world. This verse sets the stage for the rest of the book of Acts. The Gospel starts in Jerusalem (chapters 1-7), then spreads to Judea and Samaria (chapters 8-12), and then moves outward to the rest of the world (chapters 13-28).
Have you ever read Acts 1:8 and thought about all of the implications it has for us? When we read Acts 1:8 as believers here in the United States, I think we can overlook a key point. We are not at the center of this Gospel movement. We are not Jerusalem. We are the ends of the earth! When we read Acts 1:8 in that light, it can impact us in a whole new way. First, we should be greatly encouraged and thankful that the Gospel message didn’t simply stay with the Jews, but moved outward to the Gentiles. Without this outward spread of the Gospel, we would never have heard of salvation by grace through faith in Christ. But the gift of salvation has come to us! “17 If then God gave the same gift to them as he gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God’s way?” 18 When they heard these things they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, ‘Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life.’” – Acts 11:17-18
Second, now we have been given the same power through the Holy Spirit that the apostles were given, and we have been commissioned as believers to take part in the spread of the Gospel to those who have not yet heard it. “This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.” – Ephesians 3:6
This wonderful gift of salvation neither started with us, nor should it stop with us. Praise our heavenly Father for giving us the right to become children of God (John 1:12), and for enabling us to continue carrying the Good News outward to the rest of the world!
Who was it that shared the gift of the Good News of salvation with you? Who are you close to that needs to hear about Jesus and His salvation? Who are you reaching out to in the power of the Holy Spirit? Thank God for the people He used to bring you the Gospel, and ask Him to reveal the people He wants you to take the Gospel to.