July 15

Acts 1:3, 7-8 3After his suffering, he showed himself to these men 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.

7He said to them: "It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8But 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."

Jesus didn't leave them questioning if His resurrection truly happened. He gave many convincing proofs. None of the over 500 people who saw Him questioned the fact that He had risen from the dead. We don't have any of the words about the kingdom of God that He spoke to them during that time, but we can be sure it was similar to what He had already taught them before His death. A death profoundly alters the way we see things, but that is not true for the Son of God. He never changes.

When someone we love passes, we treasure the last words he or she spoke to us. Verses 7 and 8 were Jesus' famous last words before His ascension. The last question the disciples asked was about the time for the restoration of the kingdom to Israel. Jesus did not say that would never happen. He told them that it was not for them to know the times or dates the Father has set. By this statement we can learn much. All our guessing and predicting is a waste of time and contrary to Jesus' instruction. The time is set already. The Sovereign God of all has determined the perfect time.

In the meantime, verse 8 is our call to arms. We must be empowered by the Holy Spirit. Then we are to be witnesses of Christ from our homes to the ends of the earth. The word for "witness" in Greek is the word from which we derive our word martyr. It was used in the legal, historical, and ethical sense. Those to whom Jesus was speaking were to tell of the historical facts of what He said and did so that we would have a record. Today we can still share those facts with those who have never heard. A witness tells of Jesus' legal right to free us from the slavery of sin. The apostles and all believers are to demonstrate the ethically transforming power of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

Consider: Have you received the power to be a witness?