Welcome Home – 40 Day Fast Devotion #2
Empowered for Witness
He said to them: “It is not for you to know the dates and times the Father has set by his own authority. 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.”
Before Jesus ascended into heaven, the resurrected Messiah spent precious time with his disciples. That time was spent preparing them for what would be a new age, the age of the Spirit. As we saw yesterday, with his ministry on earth Jesus began to ‘do and teach’, and now, after He ascends to be with his Father, He would continue to do and teach as the church patterns their lives after him in increasing ways.
Like the disciples in this passage, we are often concerned with when something will take place. We are concerned with timing. Like impatient children, we cry and wail over the time it takes to obtain something. This is borne of passion, and is not always a bad thing. We want to know when that person we care about will come to faith, when we will be healed or when we will get the opportunity we’ve been waiting for.
This is not our concern. Instead of telling us when, Jesus instead tells us what and why. He redirects our focus from what we do not know to what we can confidently expect from Him. To the gathered disciples he says “you will receive power, and you will be my witnesses”.
We can do nothing apart from God. All of our effort comes to nought if it is not inspired and anointed by God through the Holy Spirit. Speaking of the impartation of the Spirit, Jesus tells the disciples ‘you will receive power’. They are told what they could expect. Power from heaven. A unique spiritual experience and empowerment that would cause their lives to change. They would be immersed in God!
They are also told why. The purpose of Spirit-empowerment is for the advancement of the Kingdom of God. God does not give his Spirit purely for our enjoyment (although that is certainly a part of it)! The power we receive is for the purpose of witness. The church is called to witness everywhere – beginning right where you are, to the outer reaches of the earth. God is for all cultures and languages, as all cultures and languages were created for him. This is the significance of Luke-Acts being addressed to a Gentile (non-Jewish) man, showing right at the outset that the aim of God was that ALL people would worship him.
God loves people that are not like you. He loves us, and he also loves those different from us. Those from different cultures, backgrounds and countries. He has no favourites and shows no special privilege. His grace is for all who would turn to Him. The way we get there is to be empowered by the Spirit of God, and allow that same Spirit to thrust us out into the world that we might testify to God’s grace, and witness His mercy. The Kingdom will come, and lives everywhere will be restored when Jesus’ disciples are filled with the Spirit of God for the purpose of evangelism and invitation.
- In your own life, what is something you are ‘waiting’ for?
- How do you feel about the idea of receiving power from God?
- If you received an empowerment from God for evangelism and invitation, what things in your life would change?