Acts 1.6-11

So there we are: Jesus and His apostles. They ask Him a huge question in v.6:

“Lord, is this the time when you are restoring the kingdom to Israel?”

(NET)

They knew He was the key to the kingdom coming. They knew He was the missing piece of the puzzle that the prophets had spoken about for generations. They knew it was Him, and they wanted to know if now was the time.

“Lord, is this the time when you are restoring the kingdom to Israel?”

(NET)

Jesus says, simply, that they will never know (v.7) but that they

“…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 farthest parts of the earth.”

(Acts 1.8, NET)

No, they don’t know when the Kingdom will finally come (and neither do we) but in the meantime, the Holy Spirit is promised to them as they are sent first into their own city (in Jerusalem), then to the surrounding region (and in all Judea and Samaria) and finally further afield (and to the farthest parts of the earth). Herein we see a pattern for the whole book of Acts. First, the good news goes into town (ch.1-7), then the surrounding area (ch.8-12), then to the ends of the earth (ch.13-28).

Then, as the apostles watch, Jesus ascends in a cloud of the LORD’s glory (v.9) and are told by two angelic messengers that “This same Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will come back in the same way you saw him go into heaven” (v.11b, cf. Zechariah 14).

For you and for me, we know that we aren’t the apostles who were promised power to proclaim the Good News in Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria. We are not the Men of Galilee being spoken to here. However, we read these words, we weigh them against the full counsel of Scripture, and we see that God empowers and enables His people to proclaim His message and achieve His purposes. This is where we do come in.

For those who believe that Jesus is who He says He is, that He has done and will do what He promises, the same Holy Spirit power is available. We don’t need to pretend we are being spoken to in Acts 1.8 (and ignore the second half of the verse to strengthen our pretending) because Jesus promised the Spirit to those that believe (John 14.15-17, cf. 1 Corinthians 12.13, Ephesians 5.18b). Today then, there is no need to imagine yourself being spoken to in Acts 1.8 because that very same power and help and enabling is on offer to you who believe.

Published by James Travis

Pastor of Saar Fellowship in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Married to Robyn and Dad to our two boys.

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