To begin with, Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would come in and upon them in a fresh new way. He had made this promise before (John 14:17, 26; 15:26; 16:8-11, 13-14), as had John the Baptist (Matthew 3:11, Mark 1:8, Luke 3:16, John 1:33). There are three Greek articles that illustrate a person’s relationship with the Holy Spirit. The word “para” (with) reminds us that the Holy Spirit is with us before we come to Christ, convicting us of our sin and convincing us to put our faith in Jesus; and He is always with us afterwards, directing and empowering our lives (John 16:8-11, Hebrews 13:5). The word “en” (in) tells us that the Holy Spirit comes in us, and He does so at the moment of salvation (Romans 8:9). Some call this experience the indwelling of the Spirit while others call it the baptism of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19-20, 12:13). Thirdly, the word “epi” (upon) refers to an experience where the Spirit of God comes upon us to empower and equip us for service, ministry and evangelism. Some call this experience the filling of the Spirit, while others call it the baptism of the Spirit. Regardless of what we might call this experience when we are anointed with supernatural power by the Holy Spirit, it is obvious from the Scriptures that the Lord expects us to live daily in this supernatural anointing and power.
Question – “Have you experienced the anointing and empowering of the Holy Spirit – and how has this experience made you a better witness, servant, minister, etc.?” Some experience this empowering at salvation, but most experience it in a subsequent encounter with the Holy Spirit when they die to their sin and their self-centeredness, and surrender completely to the Spirit of God. It is only when we live daily in the power of the Holy Spirit that we are able to be the witnesses and do the work God has called us to do.
When we are empowered by the Holy Spirit, Jesus clearly indicates that we will then be effective witnesses to the people around us in our lives, and even to people we don’t even know. He says that we are to be witnesses to the “Jerusalem people” in our lives. That’s a reference to those closest to us, our family members and friends. We’re also to be witnesses to the “Judean people” in our lives. That’s a reference to the people around us that we work with and do business with. Then, we’re also to be witnesses to the “Samaritan people” in our lives. The Samaritans were a different race and culture from the Jews, and so Jesus was indicating that we are to continually be reaching out to people from different backgrounds, cultures, races, socio-economic groups, etc. Finally, we’re to be witnessing to people around the world. We do this through praying, giving, sending missionaries and sometimes going on mission endeavors. What Jesus was actually saying is that we are to purposely be witnesses for Him on a daily basis to everyone around us, to people unlike us, and to people around the world.
Second Question – “Who in your life do you need to be witnessing to on a daily basis?” The word “witnesses” (found in other translations) is the Greek word “martureo.” It refers to someone who simply tells us what he or she has seen and experienced. That’s what the Lord asks to do and He says that we will be a witness for Him when we are living daily in the power of God’s Spirit. We don’t have to be anyone’s judge or prosecuting attorney, reminding people of their sinfulness and hopelessness. We simply need to be communicating to people in various ways every day what we ourselves have experienced through our relationship with Jesus – and we will be doing this if we are living in God’s power rather than the energy of our own flesh.
As you pray today: 1) Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you the names of people from every strata of life that you are to be a witness to – and ask Him to give you direction in how to witness to them; 2) Ask the Lord to reveal to you what has kept you from being a better witness, seeking His forgiveness as well as His revelation; and 3) Ask the Lord to empower you and help you to witness for Him this very day.