“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:8
The above verse would be considered of paramount importance, as it was the final instruction Jesus gave his disciples before He ascended to His Father. The first part of the verse is telling his followers that a revolution is about to happen to them when they receive the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will give them power for a purpose and that is to be a witness.
While I thought I knew what “witness” meant, it was enlightening to find the translation in the Greek actually means “martyr”. Martyr in the Greek is further explained, “to be willing to testify for one even if it cost your life”. Now that takes it to a whole new level. Not just sharing Jesus with others, but willing to die for Him.
As you read Acts 1:8 now knowing what “witness” means in the context of this verse, consider another key word in this instruction from Jesus. The word “be” is crucial: “be my witnesses”. This does not say, “do witnessing” it says clearly “be my witnesses”. It is much more than your words that is involved, it is your entire being. It takes a person to be a martyr, not a conversation, not a track, not a Christian song etc. Paul said in Romans 12:1, “ I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.” After all our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus gives a progression plan in the last part of this verse. He tells us where to witness. For the disciples, Jerusalem was their home, Judea was their nation and then to the end of the earth.
My translation would be to be a witness in the town and community you live in. Next your witness would extend to the nation God has placed you in. However, it doesn’t stop there.
Jesus has called us to be witness to the ends of the earth. John 3:16 tells us God’s love was so great that the martyr of His only begotten son was required so that all could have eternal life by accepting Him.
The question this verse raises are we committed “to be a witness” for the One who died for us.
Pastor Ruth Kaunley