The Book of Acts records the first 30 years history of the church from the ascension of Jesus. Before He ascended to heaven, Jesus spoke His last words to be left ringing to the ears of His disciples:
“…you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” After He said this He was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. (Acts 1:8-9)
If anybody needed power, they were these disciples who fled and hid behind locked doors for fear of the Jews who arrested and crucified Jesus. Even Peter who loved Jesus and was bold to tell Him that he was ready to die for Him had fallen away and denied Jesus three times (Matthew 26: 33-35, 69-75). His disciples received the empowering authority (“exusia”) of Jesus that can make things to be, and the dynamic power (“dunamis”) of the Holy Spirit that can make them happen.
When the rulers, elders and teachers of the law saw Peter and John, they realized that they were unschooled and ordinary men. They couldn’t explain the disciples’ courage except that they have been with Jesus (Acts 4:13).
As witnesses of Jesus, something about us can only be explained by the fact that we have been with Him and that He lives in us. Our face, our eyes, our disposition can tell others our experiences with Jesus. Our purpose is to choose daily – through the power of the Holy Spirit – to be good and true witnesses of Jesus.
The mission was designed to begin in Jerusalem, but for the disciples this was a place of failure, where Peter denied Jesus three times; where one of them had committed suicide; where they all had fled and hid out of fear. It would have been easier to start where nobody knew them so they could start clean.
Jesus knows us better. Essentially, our witness is most powerful where people knew our failures, sins, and brokenness for they would see the saving power of Jesus and the evidences of the transforming work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
Our “Jerusalem” (where we are) is just the starting point. We are to carry out the mission to our next nearest reach (Judea) and then intentionally cross over cultural, racial, and other boundaries (Samaria), then all the way to the ends of the earth.
We cannot effectively serve God or live our Christian life by our own strength. We are powerless without Jesus and the Holy Spirit. If we are plugged in to the Holy Spirit who lives in us, He will enable us to live the life as true and effective witnesses of Jesus.