“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts. 1:8
Where is Jerusalem? Our hometown, our community
Where is Samaria? The “other side of the tracks”…people we don’t usually associate with on a day-to-day basis.
Where is the end of the earth? I like the bible translation that says the “uttermost” part of the earth. It is from one pole to the other pole….from east around the globe to the furthest west…every people, every nation, every tribe, every human on the earth — the uttermost furthest distance you can imagine on the planet earth.
I have never been one to skip to the ending of the book without reading through it first, but in this case, I want to point out something. Having read several commentaries, it seems that the end of the book of Acts has no proper ending. It ends with Paul in his own rented house in Rome.
I just picture Paul, sitting at a table in his room, reading the scriptures and preparing for his next mission. He is studying, and praying and interceding for the lost people that he, himself persecuted. He hardly sleeps, is filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, and very attentive to God’s voice.
The camera pulls back, ending the scene with this image. You just know that Paul is about to run out the door to his next adventure, when the ending credits starting scrolling and the symphony starts playing…
Ugh! …..want more?! Yes! Bring on the sequel!!!
If we watched a movie with this scene at the end of it, there would no doubt be a feeling of incompleteness. It’s like one of those really, really, good movies that just leaves you hanging at the end!
In this case, however, there is no proper ending. Why? Because the mission of God’s people is incomplete. It is a continuing story. We are to continue in the same work as Paul — into Judea, Samaria, and the Uttermost.
The work, as Acts 1:8 points out, is to be a witness of “Me”. The “me” is Jesus Christ, but what message is it that He wants us to convey? A witness of what?
The research I have done tells me that He is speaking of the resurrection. It is the center and heart of the message. Without the resurrection, all work and miracles Jesus had performed would have been in vain. Without renewed life, the testimonies and accounts of Jesus’ life would mean nothing. He would have been just another man.
However, He was not a man.
“I and My Father are one.” John 10:30
He was God, in flesh, who experienced all the guilt of our sins, endured a torcherous death, but then fulfilled the greatest feat no man has ever been able to do….he came back to life! He was resurrected, just as the prophecies of old had described! He is alive — even today! Now THAT’s something to get excited about 🙂
We are to be witnesses of THAT GREAT MIRACLE…the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. It is the center and heart of the church’s message.