Welcome to Acts! As a part of our Daily Reading you’ll notice that we started with Luke intentionally to lead right into reading the Book of Acts. Being the author of both books, Luke again gives a careful account concerning the “acts” of the Holy Spirit working through the apostles. Scholars aren’t sure exactly who Theophilus is, but original manuscripts find Luke referring to him as, “most excellent;” a title given to those who sat in a seat of authority.
Connecting with Acts 24, Luke 1 refreshes our memory as to how we got here and what’s about to happen. Of course the disciples are still focused on the possibility of a Revolution (1:6), but Jesus is more focused on getting out of here so the Spirit could bring power. John 16:7 (NLT) “But in fact, it is best for you that I go away, because if I don’t, the Advocate won’t come. If I do go away, then I will send him to you.” What Jesus was limited to do in his body, he’s unlimited to do in his Spirit.
Scripture has many names for the Spirit: Author, Comforter, Counselor, Guide, Teacher, just to name a few. In John, the Holy Spirit is called Advocate, here in Acts 1:4 the Spirit is called the “gift,” but the one thing the Spirit always does is bring POWER!
Acts 1:8 (NLT) 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
I think sometimes we tend to forget that these are Jesus’ last words and instructions before the Ascension. It’s kind of like when my wife is yelling back those all-important instructions before walking out the door.
Dynamis (dü’-nä-mēs), the Greek word here for “power,” is derived from the root word dynamai (dü’-nä-mī), which is where we get our english word “dynamite.”
Now, understanding the Greek for power is fun and informational, but what Jesus is saying isn’t just fun, it’s a promise. He’s telling them, you believe, you know the message and have the game plan, but you’re still lacking one thing, power. And what’s the power for? The power’s for being his witness in the Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and end of the earth areas of your life. This ultimately is our mission and the mission of the church, but we won’t be able to fulfill it without the power of the Holy Spirit.
Think of it this way: Picture yourself answering the call as a church to take food to impoverished area of your city. Everyone shows up, excited, ready to make a difference, and starts putting together all the care boxes for distribution. After all the boxes are created and loaded into the truck, you step back and realize that you just filled a 15′ truck with over 500 boxes of food. Pretty incredible feat until you go to start the truck. The driver gets in and there’s not even a click from the starter. No noise, no movement, no nothing. The driver gets out, pops the hood, only to learn…no engine!
You can have all the intentions in the world to distribute food to those in need, but without an engine, your food isn’t going anywhere. We believe, we know the message and have the game plan, but we’re still lacking on thing… power. The Holy Spirit is the engine of our faith! The Holy Spirit is the engine of our churches! The Holy Spirit gives the message power and makes it deliverable! Without the Spirit you have the equivalent of a bunch of food sitting in a truck.
In my opinion, the most hope-filled word in verse 8 is “when.” Jesus is leaving, the disciples are scared and confused, not sure what’s going to happen next. But the incredible hope can be found in knowing… the power’s comin’