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"But 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." Acts 1:8 NIV



During Jesus' ministry, he traveled between Galilee and the north and Judea to the south, with Samaria in between, covering approximately 3,000 miles. The disciples would have become well acquainted with this area as they traveled it with Jesus for over three and a half years, stopping at the cities and towns in between, listening to Jesus teach the crowds, and performing miracles.


In Matthew 10:5-6, we hear the account of the disciples' first solo mission trip, when Jesus sent them to the "lost sheep of the house of Israel." Jesus instructs His disciples: "Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans." The mission was brief, with specific instructions given by Jesus, including the areas they should visit and the actions they should perform. He was preparing them for the time He would no longer be with them. As we read today, a time when He would send them again back to those places they had visited on their solo mission before, but also sending them on a new mission, to "Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."


Their mission was simple: "Be my witnesses." When Jesus said this, He called His followers to testify about Him and the truth of His life, death, and resurrection, to spread the message of the Gospel—His teachings, His sacrifice, and the salvation He offers. 


The Greek word for "witnesses" is "martyrs," which means someone who bears testimony to the truth through words or actions. In the case of the early disciples, this often meant testifying even to the point of death. The Book of Acts and the letters of the New Testament detail their missionary journeys and the church's growth. They faced persecution and many challenges, but their efforts led to the spread of Christianity throughout the Roman Empire and beyond.


Jesus' message of sending holds a profound meaning for followers today. It signifies that we, His modern-day disciples, are called to continue the mission Jesus began, acting as His representatives in the world even when faced with adversity and hardship because of the message. The Holy Spirit, Jesus promised, goes with us, giving us the boldness and courage to share God's message of deliverance to a sin-sick world.


Heavenly Father,


We come before You in humility, 

Thanking You for the gift of Your Holy Spirit.

As You empowered the first disciples with Your Spirit,

So too, we ask to be filled with that same power.


Grant us the courage to be Your witnesses,

In our homes, communities, and to the ends of the earth.

May Your love be the driving force behind our words and actions,

And may Your truth resonate in the hearts of those who hear us.


Help us to embody the message of Your Son, Jesus,

To live lives that are a testament to Your grace and mercy.

Give us the strength to persevere through trials,

And the wisdom to speak Your word with boldness and love.


May we always remember the mission You have entrusted to us,

To share the good news of salvation and hope.

We pray for open doors and open hearts,

As we seek to fulfill Your calling in our lives.


In the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior,

Amen.


Blessings,

Pastor Tim




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