So, when they had come together, they began asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time that You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?”
But He said to them, “It is not for you to know periods of time or appointed times which the Father has set by His own authority; but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and Samaria, and as far as the remotest part of the earth.”
The disciples had learned from their childhood about what the world would look like when the Messiah came.
And this wasn’t it.
“Are you going to restore the kingdom to Israel now?” shows that they didn’t think Jesus had done it all, yet.
Dying and coming back to life was a big deal, but there were still Romans, corrupt Pharisees, and bacon.
He didn’t really answer their question, but He told them the plan. The point now wasn’t returning the kingdom to Israel, but to get the word out about what Jesus said and did.
We read that “power” and think about all of the healings and miracles that Jesus did. And that’s fine. But the power of the Holy Spirit will turn out to be more than healing the sick. The Holy Spirit powers us to preach the good news to the poor, to forgive those that hurt us (even to the depths of our souls) and to persevere and remain faithful until the Father’s plan is fulfilled.
Every one of those places that Jesus mentions would be a difficult place to be one of His witnesses. Jerusalem had just killed Him! Judea followed all of the teachings that came out of Jerusalem. And Samaria? Shew. Samaria is full of Samaritans!
But Jesus was right. They stayed in Jerusalem like He said and the Holy Spirit did come and empower them. They went on to be witnesses (the Greek word is the same root word for our word martyrs) all over the world.
And that’s the thing. There are still ends of the earth that have not heard about Jesus. There are sections that have been abusively colonized by Christendom, sure, but it’s not hard to argue that they haven’t been reached with the good news of Jesus’ words and life.
These words of Jesus are a declaration currently in progress. We are and will be His witnesses. He is still giving us His Holy Spirit to empower us, and we still have a chance, every day, to be His witnesses.
Witnesses. Sworn to tell the truth, answering people’s questions, retelling what we have seen and what has been done, all of the way to the end of the world.