Open Your Bible
Acts 1:1-26, Matthew 28:16-20, John 16:7-14
The action-packed book of Acts is the story of the Church, how she began and how she grew. It highlights moments from our history that have shaped our present and provide a backdrop for our future. It shows how Jesus’s followers—Jewish people and Gentiles—learned what it meant to live together as a new community of believers, what it meant to be God’s family. It also shows us what it looked like for Jesus’s disciples to fulfill His instructions, carrying the gospel throughout their world and beyond.
This first chapter, which includes Jesus’s ascension, is a prelude to an exciting series of events throughout Acts. In His final scene with His disciples, Jesus directs their attention to what He has in store for them following His return to heaven.
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
These disciples had seen the gospel unfold before their eyes: their Lord had been crucified, buried, and returned to life. This is the good news that Jesus told them to carry to the world (Matthew 28:19–20). Here in the beginning of Acts, He assures them that He will equip them for the work He had called them to. He promised His presence and His power would be with them every step of the way. The Holy Spirit would enable them with God’s power and authority as they preached the gospel and gathered disciples.
You will be my witnesses. Centuries of time separate us from Jesus’s early followers, but the legacy of the gospel connects us. We live by the same truth that they lived by, and we preach the same message that they preached. The Holy Spirit empowers us—as He empowered them—to carry out Jesus’s instructions.
To the ends of the earth. The Church has expanded beyond the geographical borders of the first century Church, with multitudes of followers across the globe. We continue carrying out the Great Commission, inviting others to accept His wonderful gift of salvation.
Sharing Jesus happens in many different ways: through a Sunday sermon, through repeated conversations, through acts of service. However we share Him, God promises that His presence will be there, actively drawing others to Him.
As we step back into the early Church’s world, let’s allow our anticipation to grow. As we connect the dots between the past and the present, we’ll see the far-reaching impact of the gospel—across time and beyond borders.