Book of Acts, Chapter 1, Verses 6-8 - The Remedy for Self Interest
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Book of Acts, Chapter 1, Verses 6-8 (continued)
Verse 6. “When they therefore were come together, (they came together on the Mount of Olives, just east of Jerusalem. At one time it was covered with olive trees. Jesus often came here to pray. Several important events took place on this mountain.) they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?”
Verse 7. “And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.”
Verse 8. “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 part of the earth.”
The restoration of the nation of Israel sounds like such a good thing. During the Lord’s ministry, even as they neared the ascension, the disciples thought only of that earthly kingdom and all their preaching expressed this self-desire. They would never have imagined their nationalism to be inconsistent with God’s plan – but so it was. They had come to imagine that the thing that was good for Israel was also good for God.
Even at this last date of spending time with Jesus, the writings of the prophets were not fully understood by the disciples. Pentecost changed the entire outlook of these men. Ancient parchments came alive within their minds; . . . A new perception inspired their oft-repeated utterance, “Thus was it fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets.”
“And ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (v. 8). Pentecost changed a hesitant, half-hearted company of believers into a force that bothered hell. Simon Peter had likely preached hundreds of times during those memorable tours when Jesus had sent out 70. In spite of all Simon Peter’s sincere efforts, there is no record that Peter had ever won a soul.
Then, without any additional schooling, but with an infilling of the Holy Spirit, this same preacher had three thousand people converted in one day. Peter’s sermon on the day of Pentecost may not represent perfection in preaching. I don’t know that any seminary professor has students dissect Peter’s Acts 2 sermon as a pattern for the modern pulpit. The secret was not Peter’s eloquence but in the unmistakable power that turned every sentence into an arrow hitting the target of the human mind.
Verse 8 is the key to the Book, telling, as it does, of the Central Subject of Christian Witness, Christ: the Widening Sphere, from Jerusalem to the “uttermost part of the earth;” the Exclusive Source, “ye,” the Christian Church; and the Unfailing Secret, “the Holy Spirit.” Wonderful! Wonderful!
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