But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. —Acts 1:8
Acts 1:8 is the key that unlocks the door of Acts and the gates of Christian history.
Acts 1:8 represents the last known words of Jesus during His earthly ministry. Verse 9 indicates these are the Lord’s final words before being “taken up.” Luke 24:50-53 says Jesus ascended to heaven while blessing His disciples, but His words of blessings aren’t given. Acts 1:8 are His final words as they were recorded for us. Shouldn’t His last command be our first concern?
Acts 1:8 represents the passing of the baton between the Son and the Spirit regarding the divine mission on earth. Jesus indicated in the upper room discourse (John 13-17) that in His physical body He would return to heaven. His presence here would be replaced, so to speak, by the Holy Spirit; and He told the disciples in Luke 24 to tarry in Jerusalem until the Spirit arrived. In Acts 2 we have this arrival, the unleashing of the Holy Spirit upon the church. The book of Acts (and all subsequent Christian history) is the story of what Jesus Christ is continuing to do (see v. 1) on earth through His Spirit working in His church.
Acts 1:8 provides the table of contents for the book of Acts. In reading through Acts, it becomes clear that chapters 1-7 describe the gospel’s penetrating Jerusalem; chapters 8-12, Judea and Samaria; and chapters 13-18, the ends of the earth, exactly as outlined in Acts 1:8.
Acts 1:8 represents Christ’s agenda for the duration of history till He returns. It’s our personal mandate, and every day of our lives must be spent under its ambition and authority.
A. W. Tozer on Acts 1:8
“Ye shall receive power.” By those words our Lord raised the expectation of His disciples and taught them to look forward to the coming of a supernatural potency into their natures from a source outside of themselves. It was to be something previously unknown to them, but suddenly to come upon them from another world. It was to be nothing less than God Himself entering into them with the purpose of ultimately reproducing His own likeness within them…. This power is to come upon powerless men as a gentle but resistless invasion from another world bringing a moral potency infinitely beyond anything that might be stirred up from within. This power is sufficient; no additional help is needed, no auxiliary source of spiritual energy.
Power came upon the Church, such power as had never been released into human nature before (with the lone exception of that mighty anointing which came upon Christ by the waters of Jordan). That power, still active in the Church, has enabled her to exist for nearly twenty centuries. —A. W. Tozer
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