And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest questioned them, 28 saying, “We strictly charged you not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.” 29 But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men. 30 The God of our fathers raised Jesus, whom you killed by hanging him on a tree. 31 God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. 32 And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.”Acts 5:27-32
The original twelve Apostles are all dead. However, there is still one alive who was a firsthand witness to the death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of the Lord Jesus.
If that’s true, he would have to be more than 2,000 years old.
He is, in fact, older than that. Yes, he beat Methuselah who lived for 900 years. He is the eternal Spirit.
When reading and meditating in Acts 5 this morning, a phrase stood out that I had not noticed the last 100 or so times I read this passage. “And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him. “
I have long been aware that the Holy Spirit raised Jesus from the dead according to Romans 8:11
If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.Romans 8:11
I just never thought of him as “witness” to the events Peter refers to in his sermon in Acts 5, the death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus. The Holy Spirit, being God, is omnipresent and omniscient, that is he is everywhere and knows everything, so of course he witnessed these events. He also participated in them comforting Jesus, strengthening Jesus and raising Jesus from the dead.
When sharing the gospel with our network of relationships where we live, work and play, we usually feel at a disadvantage compared to the Apostles. We didn’t witness firsthand the wonderful and awful events that make up the gospel. But, and this is of ultimate importance to the advancement of the kingdom of God, he, the Spirit, who was witness to it all lives in all who are Jesus followers. Jesus followers are those who obey him. We have living in us a living witness to the resurrection. It is he who convinces those to whom we share our testimony and the gospel of the truth of it all. He is the firsthand witness that we carry around with us all day every day. It is he who gives you the assurance of the truth of the gospel. When we share the gospel with others. R
Everything we do to make disciples of Jesus is supernatural. We have delegated tasks from Jesus to teach people to obey all Jesus’ commands, but it is the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit that convinces them of the truth and grants repentance and faith.
This calls us to two things: 1. A position of trust in the Holy Spirit to do his work when we do ours, and 2. a deep dependency on God that drives us to prayer and fasting to see God’s delivering power released among those with whom we get to share God’s truth.
Is not this the fast that I choose:Isaiah 58:6
to loose the bonds of wickedness,
to undo the straps of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to break every yoke?
Oh, Holy Spirit, make us so aware of your presence to loose the bonds of wickedness, undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free and to break every yoke.