but you will receive (a)power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My (b)witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth."
The Power of the Holy Spirit
v.8 (a) the apostles had already received the Holy Spirit and were born again back in John 20:22. This is now when they were baptized in the Spirit and received power. This Greek word is δύναμις, dynamis. This is where we get the English word dynamite. This is the power of God; His strength, force, might and ability. God has given us this power thru His Spirit.
v.8- (b) This is the main reason for this endowment of the power of the Spirit; to be His witness to the world.
Jesus gives specific instructions to the progression of the dispersing of the gospel; first to Jerusalem, then Judea, then Samaria, then the rest of the world. Again this goes back to God’s plan. It was always the Jew first and then the Gentile. Jesus followed these same orders, going to Jerusalem, Judea, then Samaria and then the Gentiles, and now He is relaying these same marching orders for His disciples.
The way it plays out is fascinating because the disciples didn’t take these orders and make a plan to spread the gospel in this fashion. It was the hand of God that directed them thru the chaos of life and thru this, fulfilled His plan.
After Jesus ascended, they waited in Jerusalem, as Jesus instructed. They really did not know what they were waiting for. They knew Jesus promised they would receive the promise of the Father and be baptized in the Holy Spirit, but I don’t think they really knew what all that meant; but they were faithful and patient and on the day of Pentecost they were filled with the Holy Spirit, just as Jesus had promised.
This day, the Feast of Shavout (weeks), was established thousands of years prior, as the exact point in time the Holy Spirit would be given to the Church.
The Day of Pentecost
There is some discussion as when the Day of Pentecost actually took place. There are three events that decide the date of the Day of Pentecost; the Passover being the starting point. Passover is always on the 14th of Nissan. The High Sabbath, always the day after the Passover, the 15th of Nissan, is called the Day of Unleavened Bread. This is a High Sabbath and no work can be performed, Lev 23:5-7. And the third event called the Feast of Firstfruits. The Feast of Firstfruits is always the day after the first weekly Sabbath that followed the Passover. In the year of Jesus’ death and resurrection, since Passover was on a Thursday, the first weekly Sabbath was on the 16th of Nissan, making the Feast of Firstfruits just a few days later on the 17th of Nissan, Lev 23:10-15.
Leviticus 23:15 tells us from the day after the Sabbath, count 50 days to the day after the seventh Sabbath, this is the Day of Pentecost; basically 50 days from first weekly Sabbath after the Passover or 49 days from the Feast or Firstfruits.
Jesus was crucified on April 10th, 32AD and rose from the dead and presented Himself to the Father on the Feast of Firstfruits, 17th of Nissan, Sunday, April 13th.
On the Feast of Firstfruits, the priest is to sacrifice a male lamb and bread made from the firstfruits of the land as a grain offering and wine as a drink offering. All this is done and presented as a wave offering to the Lord, Lev 23:10-13. This is fascinating because Jesus is all three, the Lamb, the body, and the blood. He presented Himself and His blood in heaven, in the holy of holies not made with hands, to the Father as the final sacrifice for sin, Heb 9:11-28. The wave offering of the firstfruits was a foreshadowing of Jesus presenting Himself as the Lamb slain to the Father.
The Day of Pentecost is always 49 days from the Feast of Firstfruits. In the year 32AD, the Holy Spirit came down on Sunday, June 5th.
After the apostles received the Spirit they immediately start to preach the gospel in Jerusalem with boldness. In a matter of days, thousands of Jews receive Jesus. Persecution from the Pharisees arises. Peter and John are thrown in prison, but the hand of God releases them, finally Stephen is stoned to death and this forces the disciples to disperse and travel to other places in the world. It is this persecution that leads to the spread of the gospel in the exact order that Jesus commanded. This is what I think is so amazing. Even thru all the chaos, because of this persecution, it actually enables the disciples to reach out to other parts of the world, Acts 8:4, 11:19-21, to the Jew first in Jerusalem and Judea, then Samaria, then the Gentiles in the rest of the world.
Satan was trying to stop the spread of the gospel by killing Stephen, but instead it actually launched the gospel to the whole world!