Dr. Luke begins the book of Acts or what is commonly known as "The Acts of the Apostles," by taking us back to his previous writings in the Gospel of Luke. Specifically, to the last chapter of Luke, where Jesus appears after He has risen from the grave. Jesus was still doing the very thing that Luke was writing about throughout the whole gospel of Luke. What I mean is, right up until the point when Jesus ascended, He was doing and teaching - as it says in Acts chapter 1:1
At the end of Luke 24, Jesus startles those that He appeared to and says, "Peace be with you." Then He asks them this question: "Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts?" Do you see what Jesus is doing here? He is teaching them lessons right up until His ascension. He is teaching them to have faith, and not to doubt who He is. He says, "Look, it's Me Myself, I am flesh and bone, touch me." He tells them, "Bring me something to eat," and He eats with them to prove to them that He is real. And then, in Luke 24:45 – 49, He teaches them to wait.
"Then He opened their minds to understand the scriptures. And He said to them, "Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations beginning from Jerusalem, you are witnesses of these things. And behold, I am sending forth the Promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high."
Luke 24:45 – 49
Jesus tells them to stay in Jerusalem and to wait for the power of the Holy Spirit. He is teaching them to believe in who He is, not to doubt, to be patient. He says, "Wait."
Does that sound a little familiar in our current lives? Has Jesus recently you not to be troubled, to trust Him, to wait on Him? I would imagine, perhaps even now, Jesus might be telling you to wait. Don't be troubled over the current global situation; don't fret over the finances, don't worry about what the future might look like, seek Me and wait. We are all pretty much in a waiting game right now. But what I can tell you is this, when God calls us to "wait," something great is going to happen. Dr. Luke continues his story picking up from the end of Luke 24, continuing in Acts chapter 1.
"Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father has promised, which He said you heard of from Me. For John baptized with water, but you will be baptized not many days from now. So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying Lord, is it at this time you are restoring the Kingdom of Israel? He said to them; it is not for you to know the time or the epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be my witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all of Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth." Acts 1:4-8
What if the apostles could come back today and describe what it was like to receive this power after waiting for so long? I bet they would say that the waiting seemed like an eternity but in the end, the waiting was worth it. God had something great for them, but they needed to be taught the lesson of waiting on the Lord. The wait for the apostles ended by being equipped for the work of ministry through the power of the Holy Spirit. Communicating Christ effectively requires as much spiritual power as performing miracles. How encouraging to realize the Spirit is with us and that it is He who works when we share the Lord with others.
This word for power (Acts 1:8) in Greek is "dunamis," it is where we get our word in the English for dynamite. It is the very power that gave the apostles the ability to be witnesses for Christ. This power is the grand indispensable tool of Christian witness. A man or woman may be highly talented, intensively trained, and widely experienced, but without spiritual power, he is ineffective.
There is nothing new for our call today; we are still called to be witnesses. Being witnesses is Christ's command to all His disciples. We are called to tell others about Him, regardless of the consequences. God empowered His disciples to be faithful witnesses even when they faced the most heated opposition. That same power for witnessing is available to us today.
Our task is not to convince people but to testify of the truth of the gospel. And what better time than now, as the whole world is in this waiting period, we can bring them the hope of the gospel. The gospel is the very thing that people have been waiting for.
But let me remind you, the gospel is only good news if it gets there in time. People are waiting to hear, and those of us who are believers that have been baptized in the Holy Spirit have received power from on high to bring the good news to them. And what I can assure you, my friends, is that this gospel is worth the wait.