FINAL INSTRUCTIONS

Scripture Reading:  Acts 1:6-8

“It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by His own authority.  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 end of the earth.” (Acts 1:7-8)

The disciples still had a misconception about the kingdom of God.  Just before Jesus ascended into heaven, they asked, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” (v. 6).  They were looking for a political kingdom, one similar to the kingdom under David in the Old Testament.  Their idea was to have an ethnically restricted kingdom that excluded Gentiles, one that was exclusively Jewish.  They were also looking for a geographically restricted kingdom whose center was Jerusalem.

Jesus had taught them that His kingdom was not going to be like earthly kingdoms — it would be a spiritual kingdom.  He also made it clear that His kingdom would be worldwide — it would embrace all nations and ethnic groups around the world.  This explains the scope of the final instructions Jesus gave to them — it would be worldwide.

Jesus then gave His disciples His final instructions — the mandate we know as the Great Commission.  Jesus laid out a plan for witnessing that made Christianity a world religion.  The plan was to begin in Jerusalem and all Judea, then spread to Samaria and to the end of the earth.

Jesus emphasized two important facts.  First, the disciples (and we) were to be empowered for the task by the Holy Spirit.  In a matter of days from the time Christ gave these instructions, the Spirit would be poured out upon God’s people.  The Spirit empowered them and He continues to empower us for the task.  Second, the disciples (and we) are to be Christ’s agents in a worldwide expansion of the church.  The book of Acts describes how the church grew from Jerusalem and extended throughout the known world at that time.

The task has not fully been achieved.  Today we have been empowered by the Holy Spirit to be Christ’s witnesses, those who tell the peoples of the world the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ.  We are to start in our own neighborhoods, our workplaces and classrooms.  Some may be called to go across the seas.  What is important is that everyone of us obeys Jesus’ final instructions — to be His witnesses!

Lord Jesus, I desire to be Your witness in this world that so desperately needs the good news of salvation.  I know You sent the Holy Spirit to empower me for the task.  Let me be faithful today by boldly sharing the gospel with those I come in contact with.

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