In Acts 1 we find the last words and actions of Jesus before He ascended into heaven. After His resurrection, Jesus spent forty days with His disciples. They were convinced He had been raised from the dead, convinced He was the Son of God, and convinced He was the Messiah. They watched Jesus do miracles, explaining to them over and over again how it was not His time to restore the kingdom, but instead, it was His time to serve and die for the sins of the world.
The disciples, as well as the Jews, had been waiting and hoping for a Messiah for hundreds of years. Many believed Jesus was the Messiah, but they had trouble understanding why He had not yet restored the kingdom of Israel. In His final days with them, Jesus commanded His disciples to stay in Jerusalem. They asked Him if this was the time when He would restore the kingdom of Israel, if He would do what they had been waiting for.
He told them, “You are not permitted to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority.” – Acts 1:7
It was not time. Jesus did not scold the disciples for asking what was to come; He reminded them who was in control. It was not time for the kingdom of Israel to be restored. It was time for something different.
“But you 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 1:7
Witnesses. It was time for the disciples to be witnesses to the world of who Jesus was. It was time to tell everyone what He had done. It was time to share the redemption from sin available through Christ with the farthest parts of the earth.
This wasn’t what the disciples had planned. It was better. For if the kingdom of God had come then, the gospel would not have been shared with the world and hundreds of thousands of people across the globe and across centuries would not have known the saving power of Christ.
That wasn’t all. The disciples would not be sent out on their own strength. Jesus would leave them, but He would send the Holy Spirit to empower them, encourage them, and strengthen them. With the Holy Spirit, the disciples were able to share the message of Christ with the world. The message of salvation was not only for the Jews, it was for all people! They were the ones chosen and appointed to take the most precious, most hopeful news to the farthest corners of the earth.
The Greek word for “witness” is martys. In Greek, this word means “one who affirms or attests” and in this case, in Acts 1:8, it refers to “witnesses of a divine message”.* Martyrs is also where we get our English word, “martyr.” These disciples were the ones hand-picked by Jesus to affirm the divine message He had given them. They were the ones God chose to tell the entire world about the Good News of Jesus Christ. What an incredible appointment!
Jesus appointed them to be witnesses of the gospel. They had no idea what was to come. They did not know many of them would die for their faith. They had no way of predicting the persecutions to follow, the struggles they would face, both in their lives and in the lives of believers after them. What they did know was they had a message that needed to be shared with the world, no matter the cost. Regardless of the way it would be received, they would take the Good News of Jesus Christ to the world. To their city (Jerusalem), their nation (Judea), to those they despised (Samaria), and to the furthest parts of the world.
The response to the message of Christ did not stop the disciples from delivering it. They were His witnesses.
As we study the Book of Acts together over the next several weeks, we’ll see how the disciples carried the gospel to all of these places, to Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the farthest corners of the world. The Holy Spirit would come upon them and empower them, allowing them to continue to be Christ’s witnesses.
As we learn more and more about their stories, may we be emboldened to do the same. In Christ, we have the same power they did. The Holy Spirit has empowered us, in the same way, to take the Good News of Jesus Christ to our cities, to our nations, to those we despise, and to the farthest parts of the world. We have been given the same privilege and the same calling as the disciples. May we be His witnesses today and every day!
* Arndt, William, Frederick W. Danker, Walter Bauer, and F. Wilbur Gingrich. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000.
Week 1 Challenge:
The early church was a committed group of believers who consistently met together and held everything in common. This week, commit to meet with a group of believers consistently for the next three months. Plan together and come up with creative ways to make meeting a consistent practice in your life.
Week 1 Reading Plan:
Week 1 Memory Verse:
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That’s something I never noticed before:
“To their city (Jerusalem), their nation (Judea), to those they despised (Samaria), and to the furthest parts of the world.”
Yes Jennifer! Same here! I never noticed it! I pay God helps us to spread his word every where we are and go. God bless you.
I love your studies and have facilitated them for years and support this ministry monthly. I prefer the electronic version but the download button is not working for this study. Please advise.
Hi Shelley, So sorry it was not working yet. We worked real hard to solve the technical issue and you can download now! I’m sorry you had to wait for you download. Thank you for your support!!
Hi Shelley! God bless you for your labour of love. We are sorry for the glitch. It is now functional. God bless you.
I read Acts 1:7-8 and it made me realise how much I need the Holy Spirit to be a witness of Jesus Christ because I am naturally shy and an introvert but I realized that it’s not by my power that I can share the Gospel but by the Holy Spirit.
Yes Opemipo! It is only by the power of the Holy Spirit we can be witness. I pray for you as I pray for myself for the boldness of the Holy Spirit to rest on us as we be witness for Jesus. Amen.
Amen, Opemipo! When we allow the Holy Spirit to guide us, we can do anything. I’m so glad you are joining us for this study! May God bless you, Sister!
Looking forward to diving in to Acts!
Same here sister! It has been wonderful. I hope you are getting blessed. God bless you.
I’m so glad you are joining us for this study, Laurie! Have a blessed day!
if i am to be a witness for Christ, i must be prepared to be a martyr
Yes Sondra! God is helping us through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit to be all and do all he requires of us. I pray for boldness for us to face each day with the power of the Holy Spirit in Jesus name amen.
So true Sondra! Thank you for joining us for this study! May God be with you and bless you, Sister!
This passage reminds me that although we won’t always know what God is doing and when He will do it, we should rest assured that 1) He is always working and 2) His timing is always perfect and right on time. I am also reminded that while I wait, the good Lord will equip me with everything I need in order to fulfill my purpose in the Kingdom. I wait with an expectation that my Father’s plans are perfect as well as His timing.
What great insight! That is exactly right.We just need to embrace all He has for us to fulfill His purpose for us,
Absolutely sister. God’s blessings.
Yes and Amen, Shenika! I totally agree! I love being reminded of just how great our God is! I’m so glad you are joining us! Blessings to you!
Welcome everyone! Excited to be here
Welcome, welcome to you too. Enjoy the study.
We are excited you are joining us! Blessings to you, Sister!
We are a group of women from a small farming district in the south western part of Kwa Zulu Natal in South Africa. We meet weekly to study God’s Word. We are so grateful that we were led to LGG because you have made it possible to keep studying and to connect with each other daily during what has now been 89 days of lockdown. We are so looking forward to this study on Acts. May God continue to bless your ministry and the wonderful outreach that you do.
Oh Robyn! I am so delighted to hear of you and your ladies. This is a beautiful testimony of God’s faithfulness. I pray God’s protection and help over all of you in Jesus name amen.
Oh Robyn! This warms my heart! I’m so glad you found LGG! This ministry is a true blessing! I pray you and your group will be blessed during this study!
We don’t have to do it on our own. We were given an amazing gift of the Holy Spirit. I get so tired when I am trying to operate in my own strength. God help me to rely on your gift of the Holy Spirit.
Just started this study even though it was done last year, great information….so far i’m enjoying it