I believe that the last words said before someone either dies or leaves are revealing and powerful as to what the person thinks is important. Interestingly the last words of Jesus are not recorded in any of the gospels but in The Book of Acts of the Apostles. These words were instructions as to what they were to do after His ascension into heaven and they are recorded in Acts 1:8.
“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.” Acts 1:8
The first instruction is to wait until the Holy Spirit has come and then be a witness to things Jesus said and did. This is the way He advocated for us to live. The rest of the Book of Acts shows how in that period of time those instructions were outworked. The outworking geographical spheres of influence were then described in the journey through the Book of Acts.
The gospel is preached in Jerusalem, Acts 2:1-8:3.
The gospel is taken to Judea and Samaria, Acts 8:4-11:18.
The gospel spreads to the uttermost parts of the known world, Acts 11:19-28:31.
God has been showing me that there is no statute of limitation on the words Jesus, the Father or the Holy Spirit speak; these words are eternal. The Holy Spirit has recently reminded me of scriptures people had given me in 1992, 1996, and 1998, assuring me that these are very relevant in 2022. That is 30, 26 and 24 years ago! These words are alive, well and vibrant in my life right now. So, what about Jesus last words in Acts 1:8. Are we still to be a witness to the Lord Jesus Christ? Well, I believe the answer is yes, the words are eternal.
Now New Zealand is in waters socially and politically that are uncharted – we have not really been this way before. On 19 March 2020, for the first time in the country’s history, the government closed the borders to anyone who wasn’t a citizen, permanent resident, or their partner or child (who could enter New Zealand only if travelling with them). Those arriving were required to self-isolate for 14 days.
At 11.59 p.m. on Wednesday 25 March 2020, New Zealand entered a nationwide lockdown designed to prevent the spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus around the country. From that time there have been difficult circumstances socially, emotionally, and economically. It raises the question, does that change the mission Jesus gave us and are we doing it? Are we being a witness to Jesus in our Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria? Is the love of Jesus being shown, given and received?
These are difficult times for the Church today with changing regulations, but so was the initial period of the early Church and they didn’t have the blueprint of the Book of Acts to help, they just followed the Spirit. Whether you are meeting in person, online, in groups or a combination of these, your mission is the same. You are to witness to the truth of the Lord Jesus Christ!
When Peter got out of the boat and walked on water towards Jesus, in Matthew 14:27-33, Peter only faltered when he looked at the raging waves around. Had he kept his eyes on Jesus he would have been fine. I suggest we do the same in our storm.