Acts: Empowered to Extend
36 As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you!”37 But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit. 38 And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts?39 See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.”40 And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. 41 And while they still disbelieved for joy and were marveling, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?”42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43 and he took it and ate before them.
44 Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46 and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead,47 and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.48 You are witnesses of these things.49 And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”
1:1 In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, 2 until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. 3 He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.
4 And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me;5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright (c)2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. http://www.esv.org
On Tuesday, September 12, the world watched eagerly as Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, unveiled the company’s new products before a live audience in Cupertino, California. As always, the dramatic peak of Cook’s keynote address came as he introduced the latest models of the iPhone. To whet their appetite, Cook told the audience, “No other device in our lifetime has had the impact on the world than the iPhone has. Nothing else has become so essential or put so much power into so many people’s hands than the iPhone.” I nearly fell out of my chair when I heard Cook’s hyperbolic salesmanship. Is the iPhone an influential technology? Absolutely. Is it incredibly useful? For a wealthy few, yes. But more essential and powerful than anything else in our lifetime? Hardly.
Just before Jesus ascended into heaven, He gave His disciples this promise: “And behold, I am sending the promise of My Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high (Luke 24:49).” To equip the disciples in their work as witnesses to His death and resurrection, Jesus promised to clothe them with power. What was that power? It was more than a phone; it was God Himself, the Holy Spirit. We see this promise repeated in Acts 1:8, fulfilled in Acts 2:1-4, and applied throughout the remainder of this amazing book of speeches, signs, and wonders.
Many of us read Acts with a sense of longing, wishing somehow to experience the life of the early church. If only our church could be infused with that same spirit of unity, mission, boldness, and power. But let us not forget that we too possess this same Holy Spirit! While the apostolic age was unique in ways, the transforming presence of the Holy Spirit endures with us, the church, forever, just as Jesus promised (John 14:16-17)! As sojourners, we walk in the power of the Holy Spirit (1 Peter 2:9-11). As witnesses, we speak in the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8). And as mortals, we die yet live in the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:11).
Thanks be to Christ for His indescribable gift!
O God, renew in us a sense of wonder and purpose as people indwelt by Your Holy Spirit. Grant us dependence on Him in all things, and may we exalt and extend the name of Jesus Christ in His power.