“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
In Acts 1, Luke recorded the very last words of Jesus before His ascension into heaven. Being interested in the future of Israel, the disciples asked Him, “Are you going to establish your kingdom in Israel now?” They wanted Jesus to give them a calendar of coming events. He didn’t answer their question but gave them a mission.
The Goal of the Mission
Jesus told them to be “witnesses to me.” The word witness comes from the courtroom and simply means “to tell what you know.” The key is the phrase “to me.”
Too often in evangelism, people try to communicate thoughts or ideas other than Jesus, including a set of religious principles, political opinions, moral codes, steps to discovering your destiny, a formula for happiness, etc. Jesus wants us to be witnesses to Him. He is the point. He is the means. He is the goal. Our mission is to tell others about Him, the living Christ, and invite them to respond by faith.
The Preparation for the Mission
Jesus promised His disciples that He would provide them with “power” through the Holy Spirit as they fulfilled His mission. The word power means the “ability to perform.” The book of Acts displays the Holy Spirit’s power through them.
That same promise of power extends to us. We are tempted to think we go it alone in evangelism, relying only on our personality, persuasiveness, articulateness, and ability. What Christ calls us to do, He supernaturally equips us to do.
The Extent of the Mission
Jesus told His disciples that they would be witnesses to Him throughout the world. As Acts unfolds, we see Jesus’ words fulfilled as the disciples took their message throughout Jerusalem (Chs. 1–7), then spread throughout Judea and into Samaria (Chs. 8–12), and ultimately to other countries and continents (Chs. 13–28).
As Luke came to the end of Acts, he wanted his readers to understand that Christ’s assignment did not end with the ministry of the initial disciples. That work continues to this present day. Jesus’ intended His words in Acts 1:8 not only for His disciples then but also for believers today. The mission has not changed in over 2000 years. Jesus calls us to be “witnesses to Him” wherever we go, whether that is across the neighborhood or across the world.