Church of England Diocese of Carlisle Brampton

Power for Mission

We are in this period between Ascension Day and Whitsun or Pentecost. Our reading is Acts 1:6-14. We will focus on just two verses; verses 8 and 9, where the risen Lord Jesus says to his disciples …

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; … and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.

As you well know, Acts is written by Luke. Here in these two short verses, Luke gives us three highly significant events. We hear about the Great Commission, the Ascension of Jesus, and the coming of the Holy Spirit.

The Great Commission

Matthew’s gospel concludes with what is called the Great Commission. Jesus sends his disciples out into all the world to proclaim the gospel and make disciples of people from every nation on earth.

Those disciples did exactly what Jesus called them to do. They faithfully proclaimed what they knew about Jesus. Subsequent generations did the same. Now, two thousand years later, it is our turn to pass on to the next generation what we know about Jesus.

Here, in verse 8, we get Luke’s version of the Great Commission. Jesus tells his followers, “and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Today, Jesus calls us to tells others about him in Brampton, Irthington, Scaleby, and Crosby-on-Eden, and all across our Mission Community. To be his witnesses means to speak for him, to tell others of this amazing God-man who changed the world, the Saviour who lived and died for us.

The Ascension of Jesus

Jesus’ earthly life and ministry was confined to one particular part of the world. But the significance of his life, death, and resurrection, involves the whole of humanity.

As a human being, Jesus was confined to one particular place and time. For the world to hear about him, it would require something else to happen, and many voices to speak for him.

The Ascension of Jesus back into heaven is the moment when the focus of his mission shifts from his physical body to the life of the Church, this body of believers he has left behind him. Jesus tells this small band of followers that they will take the Good News about him to the ends of the earth. They will fulfil the Great Commission.

After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.

Jesus ascends into heaven before their very eyes and the disciples are told to go back into Jerusalem and to wait for the coming of the Holy Spirit.

The Coming of the Holy Spirit

The gospel, or Good News, of Jesus Christ would eventually reach the ends of the earth. But looking back, it is obvious that those eleven disciples, the women with them, and members of Jesus’ family were not going to achieve this on their own.

Jesus tells them how it will happen in verse 8:

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; …

The Greek word for power here is “dunamis”, … from which we get the English word dynamite. This dynamic power from on high transformed those disciples. Miraculously, the gospel did go out from Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, and eventually reached the ends of the earth.

This was nothing short of a miracle. The group of followers listed in Acts is smaller than some of our Sunday morning congregations!

This “dynamite”, … this power, … is given for the mission of the Church. This power is given that WE might proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, … and that others might come to believe and trust in Him.

On the Day of Pentecost, the Spirit came in power on those first disciples. Peter stood up and spoke with confidence, and many came to believe.

Let us pray that we have the confidence to do the same.

Holy Trinity,

we thank You that by Your grace and power,

we have been given the privilege of serving You

and spreading the good news of your Saving Love.

We ask for the power of Your Holy Spirit to make us

worthy of our calling.

May Your power embolden us, and guide our words,

our thoughts, and our actions, as we share

Your gospel with a needy world.

Amen.

Revd Stephen Robertson

24th April 2020