There are many verses in the New Testament that are not considered prophetic when we look at them superficially. But on second look, we realize that they are very prophetic. I believe that Acts 1:8 fits this kind of mold perfectly.
The Prophetic Fulfillment of Bearing Witness To The Savior
In Acts 1, the resurrected Lord Jesus is about to experience the ascension to the Father’s right hand (Acts 1:9-11). His disciples ask him a question in Acts 1:6: “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” The disciples are thinking in terms of a political and military overthrow of the occupying Romans. But God has plans for His kingdom that go way beyond the borders of Israel. Furthermore, God’s kingdom goes way deeper in effecting changes within human lives than any human government can effect.
In response to the disciples question of Acts 1:6, Jesus responds this way in Acts 1:7,8: “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.” How prophetic Jesus’ statement has turned out to be.
Immediately after making this declaration, Jesus ascended to the Father. Ten days later, on the Day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit was poured out on the Jesus followers in Jerusalem (Acts 2:1-4). The Book of Acts chronicles the Gospel spreading from Jerusalem to Judea and Samaria, and finally, by the end of the Book, Paul is in Rome preaching “the kingdom of God and (teaching) about the Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 28:31). As the Book of Acts unfold, we see the 1st-generation followers of Jesus bearing faithful witness to the crucified and risen Jesus in Jerusalem (Acts 2-7), in Samaria (Acts 8) and then to the Gentile world (Acts 10-28).
The Continuing Faithful Witness Of The Church
In the last 2,000 years, the Gospel continues to be preached throughout the world. Jesus followers are faithfully bearing witness to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus in almost every people group in the world. In fact, the Christian faith has never seen as much worldwide penetration as we have seen in the last 40 years.
The Church of the Nazarene has seen many people in Bangladesh come to faith in Christ in the past generation, many from Muslim backgrounds. The underground church in China has exploded in the number of converts to Christ. Iran, of all places, has seen a large number of conversions in the last 10 years. Jesus’ statement in Acts 1:8 has truly been a prophetic pronouncement. And we can count on this prophecy to continue to be fulfilled until Christ’s Second Coming.
It is the great calling of the local church to make Christ known in word and deed. It seems that churches that hold both word and deed together are the churches who see people coming to faith in Christ. It is a challenge and a privilege to make Christ known through the spoken word and through the character and actions of our lives.
May the Lord grant us his compassionate heart for those who don’t know him, and may we be willing to consecrate ourselves to be workers in God’s harvest fields (Mathew 9:35-38).
QOTD: Do I presently have a passion to know the crucified and risen Lord Jesus Christ and to make him known?