Acts 1:1-11 (NIV)
1 In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach 2 until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. 3 After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. 4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” 6 Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 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.” 9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. 10 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”
Jesus tells his disciples they will be his witnesses. They were with him as he taught and did extraordinary things, they saw that he died and now they can see that he’s bean raised from the dead. They’ve witnessed enough to tell anyone that he truly is God himself, walking among his people as one of us. But Jesus tells them to wait.
God walking amongst his people is only part of the story. God is going to live in his people, in the form of his Holy Spirit. And that personal relationship with God is the purpose of what Jesus was doing. They will be Jesus’ witnesses, in partnership with the Spirit.
And that is what will make their witness persuasive. At Pentecost, people listen because of what they see the Spirit doing. Peter is only starting to tell the gospel when they ask, “What must we do to be saved?” (Acts 2:37) Paul reminded the Corinthian church that it wasn’t his persuasive words (he says he had none) – what convinced them was the power of the Spirit coming into and transforming their lives. (1 Corinthians 2:3-5)
We are Jesus’ witnesses too because of what we’ve seen and heard and experienced. I’m not an evangelist but I choose to be a truthful witness: to tell the simple truth of who Jesus is and what he did for me; and to tell the truth about what he’s doing in my life now. But I also need to show the evidence of his Spirit living in me. I can only be that witness in partnership with the Spirit. Any persuasive part of that testimony will be the Spirit’s part.
Jesus, I want my life and my words to be a truthful witness. You are the truth. Fill my words and my life today.
Written by David Cornell