We all know about the great commission given by Jesus to his disciples,
in which he directs them with taking the gospel to the world. He explained that
they were to be his witnesses, working alongside him in his ongoing ministry “in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and
Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). But before ascending to
heaven, he told his disciples: “Do not
leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard
me speak about” (Acts 1:4).
But why wait? Why not tell them to get on with it?
Those first Apostles had to understand something very important about
their commission, and it is a lesson we should remember too, This is not our ministry. The work of taking the
good news of salvation to the world was, is, and always will be the ministry of
Christ. He invites us to join him. And if we are to do that effectively, God
knew that we would need help.
Obediently, the disciples returned to Jerusalem, and waited. Then, “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one
place. Suddenly a
sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole
house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to
be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them” (Acts 2:1-3).
This was the dramatic birth of the New Testament church. We have some
details of how that took place.
“All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in
other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. Now there were staying in
Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came
together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being
spoken. Utterly amazed, they asked: ‘Aren’t all these who are
speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in our
native language’” (Acts 2:4-8).
God showed them, in a very dramatic way, that the preaching of the
Gospel message would not be constrained or limited by the disciples’ ability
and resources. Jesus had not retreated to Heaven, leaving them to figure out
how to spread the gospel to the world by themselves. He knew that even with the
best communication skills and enthusiasm they could not do it on their own.
So often we put the full weight of evangelism on ourselves. It’s good to
know that we are not alone. We are on mission with Jesus Christ. His Holy
Spirit works in and through us, making the good news of salvation known to the
I’m Joseph Tkach, Speaking of LIFE.