I have recently started reading a book, Pray and Go by Thom Rainer. It got me thinking about Acts 1:8. The verse reads: 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.
Two things, in particular, grabbed me about the verse on Tuesday and Wednesday. The first has to do with being witnesses. Jesus is not asking His disciples if they would like to be witnesses. He simply declares that they are witnesses. As Dr. Rainer pointed out in his book, the statement is not a request but a command. I think we can miss that, probably for many reasons. But our reasons do not change the reality of the gospel. If you have been reconciled to God through the Lord Jesus, you have been given the ministry and message of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18-19). That is another way of saying you are a witness. As followers of Jesus, a key part of our identity is being a witness. It is foundational to who we are as members of God’s family. I was challenged this week to consider how I am embracing my true, gospel-granted identity. I pray that you will consider the same question.
Second, I was also struck by the being of the verse. We will receive power through the Holy Spirit. I believe Jesus was strategic in placing this first in the verse. Before our identity can be gospel-infused, we need the Holy Spirit in our lives. The Holy Spirit empowers us so that we can be witnesses. Too many times I have thought or acted like sharing the good news was dependent on me. I do have a part to play, but the spark and the power of the good news are not me or you. The power of the good news comes from the Holy Spirit in our lives. I do believe we have been called to a big mission. But the God who calls us to that mission is also the God who empowers us to do the mission. And that empowerment is not like an energy drink that works for a while but then slowly fades away. The empowering of the Holy Spirit is His continual presence in our lives. As followers of Jesus, you and I have the power to live out the identity we have been given in being reconnected to God by the Lord Jesus. Please join in me pondering Acts 1:8 and striving to be a witness this week.