"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
These are the last words of Jesus before his ascension. They contain not only the promise of the Holy Spirit but a commission to "be my witness." Carrying the inclusive message of Jesus Christ to all the earth.
The disciples must have experienced a wide range of emotions that day. Sadness that this would be the last time they would see their friend and teacher in this life. Impending joy at this new gift they were to receive. But also apprehension at the weight of the responsibility of the commission they were given. Would they have the right words to say? Would they have the courage to speak to total strangers? Would the good news of Christ be accepted? From that day until Christ's return, every follower has asked, or will ask, themselves these same questions.
The affirmative of each of the questions is found in the receiving of the Holy Spirit. Will we have the right words? Christ said, “When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.” (Luke 12:11-12) Will we have the courage? Jesus promised not only courage but serenity, "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." (John 14:27) Will the message of Christ be accepted? We know all will never open themselves to God's grace, but we witness what happened due to Peter's witness at Pentecost, "Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day." (Acts 2:41) While we may never convince three thousand, or even one, as disciples, we still must be Christ's witnesses to the world.
Gracious Father, we give you thanks for the redemption found through Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit. Help us be bold in our witness and give us the words to reach and convict souls. We pray this in Jesus' name. Amen.