You will receive power
when the Holy Spirit has come upon you,
and you will be my witnesses
and in all Judea
and to the end of the earth.”
Father in heaven, as you sent Jesus, so send us with the simple but saving news of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. Pour out on us Your same Holy Spirit with whom you empowered your early church, so that we today may not only follow Christ with our whole being, but be empowered to pour our lives into others so that they too may believe and be saved. In the precious name of Jesus who gave his all for ALL of us. Amen.
There are roughly 7.8 billion people on planet earth today. In the first century, it is estimated that there were 150 to 330 million people on the planet, give or take a few. Most likely there were only 11 that Jesus was talking to at the moment when He ascended into heaven.
The words Jesus said to those 11 have transformed the world ever since.
Jesus told them, “Wait for the promise of the Father–you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now…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 ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
These 11 were to be witnesses of Jesus–men who were going to give an eyewitness testimony of what happened on earth that these men had seen with their eyes and heard with their ears and touched with their hands. The Bible as we know it today would not even have been written for another couple hundred years! But the message of salvation in Christ Jesus would transform the hearts and minds of people who were lost. Not because it was written in a Bible, but because it really happened!
As these 11 men shared what they knew, it transformed the known world. In only 300 years, the Roman Empire went from being pagan, filled with pantheons of gods, to being Christian. In 324 Emperor Constantine sought to unite the whole Empire under his sole leadership. The tool he used to do it? Christianity. In other words, there were more Christians than pagans in the world at that time, all because of what God did through those 11 men and those that came after them. And these were 300 years of persecution and opposition, yet God’s kingdom grew.
What about us today? There is no other person under heaven by which we are saved from our sin, from death, and from the powers of evil than through God’s Son, Jesus, who gave himself as a sacrifice on our behalf. God makes a solemn promise. Whoever believes in Jesus will not perish, but will be saved. As Christians, we too are called to be witnesses of who Jesus is and what he came to do. The church is continually called to “go make disciples of all nations.” The same “AND” vision and scope, is placed upon us today.
What will you do?
I hope you will start with one. Be one. Make one. …Disciples (followers) of Jesus, that is.
Want to know more about how to do this? Go to glocalmission.org and sign up for their Glocal Missionary Training School. It starts this August 25th, online.
Pastor Langdon Reinke