September 6, 2021
The book of Acts is the second book Dr. Luke wrote for Theophilus. Luke was the first book and was about the life, teaching, death and resurrection of Jesus. Acts is a book about what Jesus continued to do and teach through the Holy Spirit after he ascended into heaven. It also describes the development of the first church.
Today we are going to discuss Acts 1:4-9. We will mostly talk about Acts 1:8, but there will be information about what Acts says about the Holy Spirit.
After Jesus’ resurrection, he appeared to the apostles for 40 days. In Acts1:4-5 Jesus had given his disciples a command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
The disciples, still thinking Jesus was setting up an earthly kingdom, asked in verse 6, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.”
Verse 8 says, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Verse 9 says, “After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.”
Jesus told his apostles to stay in Jerusalem. This probably did not make sense to them because this was the place that Jesus was crucified and the place where the disciples ultimately rejected Jesus and acted cowardly. Yet Jesus wanted them to stay there to receive the gift that the Father had promised. What was the gift that was promised? Jesus said the disciples would receive the Holy Spirit.
There are many explanations about the Holy Spirt throughout the Bible. Here are descriptions about the Holy Spirit we learn from the first 8 chapters of Acts.
The Holy Spirit is:
- What Jesus spoke through.
- A free gift from the Father.
- What gives you power when it comes on you.
- A power that enabled the apostles to speak in languages other than their own.
- What you receive after repenting and getting baptized in the name of Jesus for the forgiveness of sins.
- The promise for all that the Lord calls.
- What the apostles were filled with and enabled them to speak of Christ boldly.
- A witness to Jesus rising from the dead.
- A power that gives wisdom.
- A guide.
- A power that told Philip to go to the Chariot.
These are just some of the characteristics the apostles received when they were baptized in the Holy Spirit.
Verse 8 states they also received power. The word for power used in Acts 1:8 is dynamis or dunamis. The English word dynamite is from dunamis. They received God’s dynamite in them. This word means strength, power, fortitude and the will to win. What a great gift. No wonder Jesus wanted them to wait to witness until they received the Holy Spirit. Trying to share about Christ without the Holy Spirit and the power of God would have been the “mission impossible.”
Verse 8 also states the apostles would be witnesses to Christ. Think about what a witness does in a trial. They tell the judge and jury what they have seen and heard. That is what the apostles were to do. Tell others what they had seen and heard while they were with Christ.
The rest of Acts 1:8 states they would be witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. Jerusalem was the location of the apostles and was the local area. This is where many Jewish people lived. Judea and Samaria were regional areas. Jewish people were in Judea, and ½ Jews (Samaritans) were in Samaria. These were the people the Jews did not even acknowledge. The ends of the earth meant the rest of the world.
Thus, the apostles were to witness in the power of the Holy Spirit to people they liked and did not like, and in all places in the world.
If you read through the entire book of Acts, the Apostles fulfill Acts 1:8. In Chapters 1 through 8 they are witnesses in Jerusalem, 8 through 12 Judea and Samaria, and the rest of the book they witness beyond these regions.
In Acts 1:8 Jesus called on the apostles to be witnesses. He asks this of all believers. He asks this of me, and if you are a believer, He asks it of you. It is important to remember to ask for the power of the Holy Spirit so you can be most effective about being a witness.
Matthew 28:18-20 says: “18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
- Has anyone witnessed to you? If so, what did they say? Did it seem they had power or knowledge?
- How do you feel about witnessing to someone?
- Have you listened to anyone who has been on a mission trip, or have you participated in missions? Tell us about it.
Next week we will read Acts 9-14.