What’s one of the hardest things you have ever had to do? For most of us, the answer is waiting, especially if we are sitting in a doctor’s waiting room. Frustration soon sets in. The disciples felt the same way, especially when Jesus told them to wait in Jerusalem for the power He said would be coming to them. This was especially frustrating for Peter, who preferred to be doing something instead of waiting. Waiting is so frustrating because it means someone else or something else is in charge, not us. Being out of control and subject to the control of others reminds us of our finiteness and vulnerability.
The disciples wondered what type of power would be coming. Many people believed Jesus was going to bring a literal kingdom on earth. The disciples believed that this power would enable them to drive out the Romans and establish a Jewish kingdom. The disciples were not about to act on their own. They had the wisdom to wait and pray for guidance and leadership.
Jesus’ answer to the disciples’ question took their focus off their timetables and put it on to what they needed to do to spread the Gospel to the world. Along with focusing on when Christ will return, believers should also concentrate on witnessing to a dying world. Jesus will fulfill all the Old Testament promises in the future. When God fulfills His promises, He always exceeds our expectations.
Jesus told the disciples how the gospel would spread. The Holy Spirit gave the early Christians power so that their accomplishments were supernatural. The Great Commission appears in all four gospels as well as in Acts 1:6-14. Jesus promised that the disciples would receive the power of the Holy Spirit. This power would enable the disciples to do great things and be great witnesses for Jesus.
Jesus promised to send a guide and comforter. He sends the same guide and comforter to everyone-the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit gave the disciples the same power it gives to everyone-the power of speaking, preaching the gospel, enduring life’s trials, etc. This power will be given to people who can accept Jesus’ authority over timing. God does things in his own time and in his own way. His concept of time is different from ours.
God wants to bless us with the power of the Holy Spirit. This starts with prayer and reconciled relationships with ourselves and the people in our lives. The process begins again and again throughout all our lives. When we receive this power, we can change lives and change the world.
When Alfred Nobel discovered an explosive element that was stronger than anything the world had known at the time, he asked a friend and Greek scholar for a word that conveyed the meaning of explosive power. The Greek word was dunamis, and Nobel named his invention “dynamite.” Dunamis is the same word that Jesus used when He told His disciples that they would receive dynamite power when the Holy Spirit came upon them.
When we get the power, we have a choice. God has chosen us to be His light of hope in a world that has been darkened by sin. We must choose to use that power by surrendering our lives to Him. We should not be like the Scottish lady at the turn of the 19th century. She lived alone in a house on the west coast of Scotland. She was traditional and frugal. Her neighbours were shocked when she announced her plans to have electricity installed in her home.
Within a few weeks, the power lines were up and she had electric power, but the company noticed that she was not using the power. A company representative decided to visit her and find out why she wasn’t using any power.
He explained to her, “Your meter shows you’ve had power for three months, but you have scarcely used it.” She replied, “Oh, you see, I don’t use very much of it. Every evening when the sun sets, I turn the electric lamps on long enough to see that I can light my candle, and then I turn it off again!”
If we choose to live life in our own power, we will only accomplish normal things. If we choose to live life in God’s power, following His leading, our lives will be marked by the activity of God which can’t be explained by our own abilities.
God calls us to be His ambassadors in this world. He wants us to introduce Christ’s love and grace to people. We can only do this with the power of the Holy Spirit. It’s so easy to be mesmerized by the amazing power and miracles of God that we can become mere observers instead of active participants in what He wants us to do. God wants us to act, just like the angels told the disciples to act.
Christ’s work of salvation rests primarily on four pillars of truth: His birth, His crucifixion, His Resurrection and His ascension. The ascension was the exclamation point. It completely and finally demonstrated that His atonement had forever solved the problem that sin created. As believers, we are to be witnesses to His saving work, and like the original disciples, we are called by Jesus to spread the Good News to a world that desperately needs to hear His message.
Jesus did not want the disciples to be confused or discouraged by His ascension, so He sent the two angels to comfort them and order them to “get moving.” With the declaration in verse 11, the angels confirmed that the second person of the Trinity was then, and forever would be, God and Man. Just as He left, so would He return-in His glorified body. This is part of every Christian’s hope! Christ was the first fruit of the resurrection, meaning that when all things are made new, His followers will be made like Him.
When the disciples returned to Jerusalem, they were constantly grappling with the shock and emotions of what they had just seen and heard. They were embarking on a new chapter in history. So, what did they do? They prayed and drew strength from God as they went forward in faith to serve Him. The great preacher Harry Ironside once said that, “When God is going to do some great thing, He moves the hearts of people to pray. He stirs them up to pray in view of that which He is about to do.” The disciples needed that time of preparation, prayer and self-examination so they would be ready for the power to change the world.
The patience of the disciples was rewarded when, on the Day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit arrived and touched them. The Holy Spirit gave them the power to accomplish many things, including the ability to preach to the members of the crowd in their own languages.
The events in Acts 1:6-14 are all part of God’s plan for redeeming the world. We are a part of His plan. We don’t know when the kingdom will come, but we do know that we are called to spread the Good News. We can do this by being in contact with people and infusing them with the Gospel. When we do, the power of the Holy Spirit in us will be released.
It’s our duty to tell others what we experienced when we met Jesus, and it is a duty that we should perform joyfully. For us the focus of our mission is at home in life’s most intimate relationships. It’s where people really know us. It has a focus at work and in the community where the consistency of our life and witness can be observed. How can we keep the gift of salvation quiet and not share it with others?
- Jeremiah, David: The Jeremiah Study Bible, New King James Version (Brentwood, TN: Worthy Publishing; 2013, pp. 1486-1487)
- Jeremiah, David: A.D.: The Revolution that Changed the World (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers; 2015; pp. 40-44)
- Jeremiah, David: Acts: The Church in Action, Vol. 1 (San Diego, CA: Turning Point for God;2006,2015; pp. 13-36
- Barnes’ Notes on the New Testament. Part of Wordsearch 11 Bible software package.
- Ogilvie, L.J. & Ogilvie, L.J.: The Preacher’s Commentary Series, Vol. 28: Acts (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc.; 1983, pp. 36-48)
- MacArthur, J.F. Jr.: The MacArthur Study Bible, New American Standard Bible (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers; 2006)
- Stanley, C.F.: The Charles F. Stanley Life Principles Bible, NKJV (Nashville, TN: Nelson Bibles; 2005)
- “Devoted to Prayer.” Retrieved from Christianity.com@crosswalkmaillcom
- “Power to Proclaim.” Retrieved from Christianity.com@crosswalkmaillcom
- Michael Youssef, Ph.D., “Our Calling.” Retrieved from www.leadingtheway.org
- Pastor Greg Laurie, “The Explosive Power of Pentecost.” Retrieved from www.harvest.org
- Pastor Ken Klaus, “An Unstoppable Message.” Retrieved from www.lhm.org
- T.M. Moore, “Kingdom Power.” Retrieved from www.colsoncenter.org
- Jude Siciliano, O.P., “First Impressions, The Ascension of the Lord (A).” Retrieved from www.preacherexchange.org
- Richard Neill Donovan, “Exegesis for Acts 1:6-14.” Retrieved from www.sermonwriter.com
- Pastor Ed Young, “The Joy of Witnessing.” Retrieved from www.edyoung.com
- Michael Youssef, Ph.D., “The Joy of Witnessing.” Retrieved from www.leadingtheway.org
- Swindoll, Charles R.: Swindoll’s New Testament Insights on Acts (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers Inc.; 2016; pp. 20-26)