Acts 1: The Great Commission
Welcome to Acts 1. Written as a sequel to the book of Luke, this book talks about everything that began to happen to the church after the ascension of Jesus Christ. This very important phase of ministry is kicked off by the Great Commission from the mouth of Jesus Christ Himself.
Act 1:7 And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.
Act 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
Two things were going to happen sequentially. They were going to receive power through the Holy Spirit, and they were going to become witnesses throughout the entire world. It seems to be the case that the first one was a necessary condition of the second. A short time before, the disciples had run away from the people arresting Jesus because they were afraid of suffering a similar fate. Obviously, at this point they had met the risen Jesus, so perhaps their courage was on the rebound, but I don’t know that human determination alone would have been enough to reach the entire world.
They surely needed the power and endurance that God was able to give to them. They were arrested, beaten and ultimately martyred with the exception of John who was given life in prison. There was a power there that did not seem to be present in the disciples on the night at the crucifixion, and Jesus says that they are going to receive power from the Holy Spirit within them. That was going to be the power that would propel them around the world.
As Christians, we have the Holy Spirit within us as well. We ought to have the same kind of power, and we ought to be just as committed to this mission. Just like the disciples did what they were able to do to spread the Gospel, the same commission applies to us as well.