1:7 And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. 8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
When I'm preaching I often tell my listeners to have some fun with their Bible study by focusing on two little words - 'but' and 'if'. Today we have one of those. Jesus uses the word 'but' to transition there focus from some vague future expectation that Jesus essentially says is none of their business back to the immediate and the things that do concern them. In doing so He makes a bold statement: "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you..."
Power. The Greek word is 'dunamis', pronounced do-nah-meece. Sound vaguely familiar? It's the word from which we get our English word 'dynamite'. "But you will receive dynamite when the Holy Spirit comes upon you and you will be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in Judea, and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." That's either very powerful dynamite or an awful lot of it if it's going to rock the entire earth! What power was Jesus talking about? Is this ISIS type power? Are the disciples going to become like Elijah of old and run around the world calling fire down from heaven to "baptize" everyone into the right way of thinking?
It can't be and I'll tell you why.
Jesus said the results of receiving the dynamite would be them becoming witness to Him. Did Jesus use brute force? Did Jesus use mighty displays of power and/or intimidation to get people to come around to His way of thinking? Where was Jesus' dynamite when they threatened to push Him off a cliff in Nazareth? Where was it when they tried to kill Him in Jerusalem? Where was His dunamis when they arrested Him after Judas sold Him out? Where was it in Pilate's court or when the soldiers beat Him and nailed Him to a beam of wood?
What is this power? It can't even be miracle working power because the disciples were already casting demons out of people and healing sickness. What is about to happen to them that make others see Jesus in and through them?
Could the dynamite be the unexplainable drawing power Jesus had? Crowds followed Him everywhere. People who wouldn't think of going to a synagogue to listen to the priests and rabbis traveled all over to hear Jesus. Segments of society we would judge hopeless before God and uninterested in spiritual matters came seeking Him and ate with Him. He had so much drawing power that men in authority who wanted the attention and power wanted Him dead. He had no publicity team. He did no advertising. He had no formal education. His entourage was mostly poor uneducated fishermen. He owned nothing. He had no personal address. He was particularly physically attractive or we'll dressed.
For people who studied how to draw a crowd it must have been maddening. He broke all the rules yet had beyond Rock Star like appeal. What was He doing? Lacing the bread and fish with drugs? Hypnosis?
What He had and however He did it, He was about to give it to His remaining eleven. "You will receive dynamite when the Spirit comes..."
The book of Acts is the Story of what happened when the dynamite fell from heaven and things started to burn. We'll find out what burned and why and what happened as a result.
It will become painfully obvious that we lack today what they lacked then - dynamite. But...BUT... for those who will receive it I believe a fresh supply of dynamite is on the way for those who follow the orders of our Commanding Officer - King Jesus.