It genuinely hurts my heart to see how far away from Jesus our society has gotten. But I was surprised to find, in several recent readings from nearly a hundred years ago, that many of the greatest thinkers of the time were lamenting the same things!
Well, okay, maybe not the same things.
I doubt they had concerns, in those days, of the raging rivers of newborn blood on their hands, as abortion was not as freely embraced as it is today. And they probably didn’t have to worry about the blasphemous, satanic forms paraded in front of them, demanding their “respect” and “understanding,” OR ELSE.
I suppose I could make a “list” of grievous ramblings, but I’d rather not. I was actually reading something this evening that gave me great peace, and I thought, why not share it?
The reading is found in the first chapter of Acts, a book that is so dear to my heart that I often read and re-read it countless times, just to keep it fresh.
AS the first chapter opens, we find the author reflecting to Theophilus on matters he had already written to him about. How Jesus had resurrected from the grave and shown Himself alive by “many infallible proofs,” for instance. How He had been with them for forty days, after the resurrection.
He spoke of Jesus’ command to stay in Jerusalem until they received “the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.” Then Luke went on to recall that Jesus had said, “For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.” (Acts 1:5).
Then, when they had come together, they wanted to know if Jesus had planned, now, to restore the kingdom to Israel. I have to grin and shake my head at this because even after the miraculous resurrection and everything that happened in the 40 days they had with Him after that, they were still zealous for politics!
Jesus gave them his simple reply to their question in Acts 1:7, saying, “…It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.”
In other words… even if it was, it’s not YOUR concern. Just like it’s not your concern whether it’s winter or summer, it shouldn’t matter to you the state of the kingdom or of Israel’s reign.
And this is where I gathered GREAT peace and GREAT rest in my soul. IMMEDIATELY AFTER telling them these things about their political ideology, He went on to say this:
“But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth.” (Acts 1:8).
This verse has been broken down so many times, so many ways, by so many denominations and doctrines and theologians and apologists and… on and on it goes. I stand by my belief that the Holy Scriptures are of no private interpretation and that God reveals what He reveals to WHOM He reveals it. To me, it’s plain.
First, there is the fact that, of all the things Luke could have spoken of, as far as things Jesus said during those 40 days after the resurrection, he chose to mention what Jesus said about John’s baptism and the Holy Ghost baptism. And then, after the disciples went into politico-mode, Jesus brought it back to the same thing!
And there’s just so much in this verse.
First, that we would receive POWER after the Holy Ghost comes upon us. The word translated is the original Greek, “dynamic,” and means a force of miraculous power, or power consisting in or resting upon armies, forces, and hosts. In some places, it is translated as “power” and many others, “mighty works.” In other places, it has been translated as “several ability” and “virtue,” such as what went out of him when the woman with the issue of blood touched Him. That “virtue” or “miracle-working power” healed her, and Jesus never even had to say a word! It was the very NATURE of the POWER, and that in and of itself cured her disease!!
But I find even greater peace and comfort in that word, WITNESSES. Jesus said we would be WITNESSES, and when I searched out the meaning of that word, I just about had a shouting time!
The word is translated from the Greek “martys,” which is pronounced “mar-toos” and means a “legal witness.” In other words, after we receive the Holy Ghost, not only will we receive MIRACLE WORKING POWER, such as that which rests upon armies and hosts, but we will be His LEGAL WITNESSES, carrying His authority to even a judicial level.
By the way, that means we have a RIGHT to that POWER He spoke of, through His Mighty Name!
Now, I would be completely remiss if I did not address that age-old philosophy that says, “That was only for those 12 disciples, and not for us.”
Allow me to draw your attention to the most telling Scripture on the subject:
“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” (Acts 2:38-39).
I don’t know about you today, but I’m taking this revelation and going forward the way He might want me to. If I’ve got the Holy Ghost and the power that goes with it, shouldn’t I use it to further the Kingdom in whatever way I possibly can? Even to the ends of the earth?
If I don’t praise Him the rocks will!