Acts 1, Psalm 24
The book of Acts is written by the same author as Luke’s Gospel (Luke), and picks up after the empty tomb. The risen Jesus is preparing to ascend into the heavenly realm. Jesus’ disciples wonder when the Kingdom of Israel will be restored. In response, our Lord tells them, in effect, to leave the timing of this restoration to God. Then Jesus gives them the priorities that sets the course for all that will unfold in this book, “Acts of the Apostles”. Jesus declares, “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.” (Acts 1:8) The rest of Acts unpacks how Jesus’ words become true. It is surprising that Jesus upends their expectations and is about to seemingly leave them to figure out how to achieve this massive mission. How will these apostles, who still don’t seem to be on Jesus’ wavelength, become effective witnesses? Jesus, as the Gospel of John says, is not leaving the disciples alone, but simply sending His Holy Spirit to them. Though these apostles are not ready, Jesus can say, “you will be my witnesses.” This is indicative, not imperative, meaning this is a declaration, not a command. When the Spirit fills us and we obey, we can do nothing else but bear witness the risen Messiah. Jesus doesn’t leave the work of seeing the salvation of the world up to the ingenuity or even the understanding of the apostles, but to the power and work of the Spirit. Jesus doesn’t leave our work to us alone either. If you are walking in the Spirit, you will be Jesus’ witness. That is truth, not a command.