Daily Devotional

September 23, 2019

Daybreak: Acts 1:1-26

“But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

Recently I came across the testimony of Dwight L. Moody, one of the renowned preachers in United States history, who described how he was alerted to his need for the power of the Holy Spirit. Moody related:

“I remember two holy women who used to come to my meetings. When I began to preach, I could tell by the expression on their faces that they were praying for me. At the close of the Sunday evening service they would say to me, ‘We have been praying for you.’ I said, ‘Why don’t you pray for the people?’ They answered, ‘You need power.’

 “‘I need power?’ I said to myself. ‘Why, I thought I had power.’ I had a large Sunday school and the largest congregation in Chicago. There were some conversions at the time. I was, in a sense, satisfied. But right along these two godly women kept praying for me, and their earnest talk about being anointed for special service set me to thinking.

“I asked them to come and talk with me, and we got down on our knees. They poured out their hearts that I might receive the anointing from the Holy Spirit, and there came a great hunger into my soul. I did not know what it was. I began to pray as I never did before. I really felt that I did not want to live if I could not have this power for service. The hunger increased. I was praying all the time that God would fill me with His Holy Spirit.

“Well, one day in the city of New York — oh, what a day! I cannot describe it; I seldom refer to it; it is almost too sacred an experience to name. Paul had an experience of which he never spoke for fourteen years. I can only say that God revealed Himself to me, and I had such an experience of His love that I asked Him to stay His hand.

“I went to preaching again. The sermons were not different; I did not present any new truths; and yet hundreds were converted. I would not now be placed back where I was before that blessed experience if you gave me all Glasgow — it would be as the small dust of the balance. If we are full of the Spirit, anointed, our words will reach the hearts of the people. We need the filling always, and if we are filled with the Spirit, there will be no room for Satan or self. If we are filled with the Spirit and full of power, one day’s work is better than a year’s without.”1

Have you ever wished your efforts for God were more effective? Have you ever felt the need for more boldness or strength or ability to work for God? The Lord has promised the gift of the baptism of the Holy Ghost and fire to give us the power we need. Like Dwight L. Moody, we want to recognize our need and seek diligently for the power of God until we receive it. We do not have to beg for the infilling of the Holy Spirit. It is a gift! Jesus’ promise was, “Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you” (Acts 1:8). God wants to fill us with His Spirit so that we will be able to accomplish His purpose.

May God put a longing in our souls for the power of the Holy Spirit, not for selfish reasons, but to accomplish the work of God on this earth. May we pray, “Lord, ignite a fire in my soul for the lost!” Many people are plunging toward a lost eternity, heedless of the danger they are in. They need help! As we consecrate our lives and pray with a desire to be our very best for God, the Holy Spirit will descend.

Background

The first chapter of the Book of Acts begins with an introduction by Luke, the book’s author. Verses 3-8 provide Jesus’ final earthly commandment to His followers — a requirement to tarry in Jerusalem until they were filled with the Holy Ghost. Jesus’ ascension is documented in verses 9-11. Then, verses 12-14 indicate that the disciples followed Jesus’ instructions by returning to the Upper Room in Jerusalem immediately following His ascension. The chapter ends with an account of Matthias being chosen to replace Judas Iscariot as the twelfth disciple.

Two important designations in this chapter are “apostle” and “disciple.” The term “apostle,” as is used in verse 2, comes from the Greek word apostolos, and means “a delegate, ambassador, commissioner, messenger, or one who is sent.” This term typically is reserved for Jesus’ twelve closest followers, eleven of whom are listed by name in verse 13. The term “disciple,” as used in verse 15, comes from the Greek word mathetes, which translates into English as “learner” or “student.” Luke used this term in verse 15 to describe all those who were gathered in the Upper Room.

Verse 8 is a key verse in the Book of Acts, as it describes both the power given the Church (through the Holy Spirit), and its mission (to witness first in Jerusalem, then in Judea and Samaria, and then in all the earth). The verse also provides a summary outline to the contents of the book: the outreach in Jerusalem (chapters 1-7), the outreach in Judea and Samaria (chapters 8-12), and the outreach into the Gentile world (chapters 13-28).

Being an eyewitness to the events surrounding the Resurrection is emphasized in this chapter. In verses 2 and 3, Luke stated that Jesus showed Himself alive to the Apostles. Then, in verse 22, Peter listed being an eyewitness to the Resurrection of Christ as one of the qualifications for replacing Judas.

Verses 18-19 are an explanation by Luke, and are not part of Peter’s discourse.

In verse 20, citing prophecies in Psalm 69:25 and 109:8, Peter described the position vacated by Judas Iscariot, and later filled by Matthias, as that of a “bishoprick.” This word comes from the Greek word episkope, meaning “overseer.” This term was used to illustrate that one of the duties the Apostles would perform would be to provide governance over the church as part of God’s authority structure.

Amplified Outline

(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)

I.    Introduction (1:1-26)
    A.    Prologue: Luke’s and Christ’s previous and present ministries (1:1-5)
    B.    The Ascension (1:6-11)
        1.    Christ’s announcement (1:6-8)
        2.    Christ’s ascension (1:9-11)
    C.    The preparation for preaching (1:12-26)
        1.    The prayer meetings (1:12-14)
        2.    The selection of Matthias (1:15-26)

A Closer Look

  1. What physical activity did Jesus use as a comparison to explain what it is like to receive the Holy Ghost?

  2. What do Jesus’ instructions to the disciples tell us about the value or importance of having the power of the Holy Ghost upon our lives?

  3. Jesus told the disciples to “wait for the promise of the Father.” What are some things we can do while we wait for the promise to be fulfilled?

Conclusion

The disciples needed the infilling of the Holy Spirit in order to be effective witnesses for Christ throughout all the world. We have the same need today, and the same provision is available.

Reference Materials