“He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 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.”” (Acts 1:7–8, NIV84)
Just before Jesus’ ascension, His disciples ask Him if He is now going to restore the kingdom of Israel. Jesus responds with our verses for today. He tells them that it is not for them to worry about dates and times. He assures them that dates and times are securely in the Father’s hands. But He does leave them with one charge. He clearly lets them know what He expects of them once the Holy Spirit comes upon them. And what is that? That they be witnesses. They (we) are instructed by Jesus Himself to be witnesses to the world around us about the kingdom of God.
So, what does it mean to be a witness? It’s simple! Witnesses testify to what they have seen, heard, or experienced. If we were witnesses in a court of law, we would be expected to truthfully testify to things we know, saw, heard, or experienced surrounding the events of the case we were involved in. The same is true for our Christian witness. We certainly have come to know things about God’s kingdom. We have experienced the love and grace that flows from the Father of that kingdom. We have seen how the truths of that kingdom have changed peoples lives before our very eyes (including our own). This is what we are called to do: to share what we have experienced from the kingdom of God to those God places in our lives, and by doing so, we participate in the restoration of the kingdom of God.
It is my prayer that we not only commit ourselves to firmly root ourselves in God’s Word, but we seriously accept the responsibility of being a witness for the kingdom of God.