"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 1:8
Ever tried to work without eating, or drive your car when the gauge is well past empty? Sound like silly questions, I know. Who would do those things and really expect to accomplish much? When your body is weak, not much work gets done. When the car is on empty, you will end up getting stranded and need someone to come and rescue you from your "not very well-planned" trip.
Often we hear or read Acts 1:8 in sermons or teachings on witnessing. We evangelicals are big on that--it's what we do. We are called to share Christ, to preach the gospel - to witness. None of us would ever deny that is most definitely our calling. But let's take a deeper look at this directive from Jesus himself that He knew would somehow find it's way into the very beginning of the book in the Bible that begins the narrative of the church - His Church.
First of all there's the power part. Notice it says, "But you will receive power..." The reason for the word "but" here is that Jesus is answering a question posed a couple of verses earlier by his disciples. They were asking him if this is the time that he was going to restore the kingdom to Israel. His answer in today's terms was, "Don't worry about it. It's not your business." Then he turns the corner and says, "But you will receive power..." When? "When the Holy Spirit comes on you...". Do you see it? He doesn't even mention the being a witness part until he first points out the power part.
Although the Holy Spirit had not come to indwell believers yet in the Old Testament, there are plenty of examples of Old Testament powerhouses understanding the source of divine strength. Remember Moses in Exodus having a conversation with the Almighty about making sure God's presence was going to be with him? Exodus 33:14-15 says, "The Lord replied, "My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest." Then Moses said to him, "If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here." Without the Presence (the Holy Spirit) there is no need to go forward. What was true back then is still true today. We could say with Moses, "If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here."
When and where does the power come in? That's the waiting part. The early believers were hold up in that upper room doing what? They were waiting and praying. Waiting and praying for what? FOR THE POWER!!! They didn't demand it, they didn't claim it, they waited (and prayed) for it. And it came.
Waiting and praying are two disciplines that often don't come easy for me. I hate waiting and praying can become meaningless if my heart isn't in it. The more I'm meditating on the word and receiving, the easier the waiting and the praying part are for me. I have to stay connected or everything gets messed up. My focus gets off and then forget about the power!
Wait and pray. Keep focusing on him and the truth in his word and wait and pray. He will do the rest. He has to do the rest or it doesn't work. Then we won't need to try and witness, we will be witnesses. That's what he said.