Daily Word

Power to witness | Acts 1:6-8

6 So when the apostles were with Jesus, they kept asking him, “Lord, has the time come for you to free Israel and restore our kingdom?”

7 He replied, “The Father alone has the authority to set those dates and times, and they are not for you to know. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Acts 1:6-8 (NLT) 中文

Power theme continues

Acts continues with the power theme. As we noted in the previous post, we were introduced to the key role the Holy Spirit plays in the establishment of the early Church. That same role continues through to today and beyond. 

Kingdom minded

The disciples are quite kingdom minded. They thought this coming of the Spirit Jesus just mentioned would be to restore Israel’s kingdom. Like back in the days of King David and Solomon, a.k.a. Israel’s glory days. However, that’s the earthly kingdom. Jesus is talking about The Heavenly Kingdom. One of the reasons the religious leaders in Jesus’ day didn’t accept Him as Messiah was that He made it clear He was not there for this earthly kingdom. Rather, Jesus came to usher in the Kingdom of Heaven. (See Matthew 13 where Jesus tells us, “The kingdom of heaven is like…”)

Then Jesus tells them that it’s not for them to know when God will restore Israel. And it’s not the original Israel, it’s the new Israel. It’s made of Jews and Gentiles, the Church, the Bride of Christ. The Bible does give us a good picture of the end times and what this will look like. But it doesn’t give exact dates. 

Power to witness

So Jesus turns their attention from things they don’t need to concern themselves with to the matter at hand. They need to be using this power of the Holy Spirit to be His witnesses. What’s a witness? It’s an “attestation of a fact or event” (merriam-webster.com). To declare what we know to be true. In courtrooms, most witnesses are those who actually saw or heard. Other (expert) witnesses know the subject matter and share their knowledge.

Where do they go to witness? If we look closely at what Jesus tells them and compare it to the geography around Jerusalem at that time (see image below), we can see His plan. He wants them to go to, “the city of Jerusalem (where they already were), to the familiar region of Judea that surrounded Jerusalem, to the geographically further and culturally different region of Samaria, and to the unfamiliar, far ends of the earth.” (firmisrael.org *)

It’s common to see this command in a figurative manner also. For example, take the gospel to those closest to us, who know us best, who can testify to the change God has made in us and see our life’s witness. Then go to those who know us less closely. And finally, to those we just “meet on the street” (although I prefer personal evangelism to “street evangelism”. Both literal and figurative understandings are necessary to get the gospel to everyone.


  • Are you afraid to share the Gospel, the Good News, with others? Do you fear rejection? It’s normal. But it’s disobedient, short and simple. If we claim to be saved by Jesus, we are to be His disciples, His followers. Followers listen to their leader – especially when He is God! Jesus clearly tells His disciples to go and make disciples (Matthew 28:18-20) and, here, to go be witnesses. Yes, being a witness is often most effective by our lifestyle. But it does also come from our mouths.
  • But beware that in our witnessing we don’t go to the other extreme and think that the burden is on us to save people. It’s only this power of the Holy Spirit miraculously working in people that can save them. Our job is to witness – with our lives and mouths.
Jesusalem, Judea and Samaria map. Image from firmisrael.org *

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