Power, and a Plan

David Bast

Read: Acts 1:8

You will be my witnesses. (v. 8)

The job the Lord gave his disciples was huge–to reach the whole world with the gospel. But he didn’t expect them to do it on their own. Jesus promised a resource more than adequate for the work: the power of the Holy Spirit.

Then he added that they would be his witnesses “in Jerusalem . . . Judea . . . Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (v. 8 NIV). In one sense, this is a simple historical description of how the gospel spread throughout the world. It is effectively the table of contents of the book of Acts.

But it is also possible to read this as a plan for us to follow. Witness begins with local outreach; proceeds to those nearby, including people from different cultures; and doesn’t stop until “the ends of the earth.”

Past generations made that last step a priority, and were willing to pay the price it took to do it–not just the cost in dollars, but in prayer, hard work, and sacrifice. The ends of the earth are filled with missionary graves. Samuel Zwemer, the great Reformed Church missionary to the Muslim world, took his young family to the Middle East in the 1890s. Within a few years, Zwemer lost two young daughters to illness. What did he think then of his decision to go to that hard place with the gospel? A clue is given in the phrase from Revelation he in-scribed on their graves: “Worthy is the Lamb to receive riches.”

—David Bast

Pray for a missionary today.