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.”
God divided the book of Acts in accord with His final commission, which describes how He launched the church in the world. The first seven chapters state the ministry to Jerusalem and Judea. Chapters 8-12 mark the transition to people who were half-Jew and half-Gentile. Chapters 13-28 describe the church’s mission to the world, where God is still working today.
8 But [instead of launching the kingdom]
The “but” here contrasts verse 8 with verse 7. Instead of knowing the duration of times or kind of times, the apostles’ mission was to witness to the far-flung part of the earth.
Although it was not proper for the apostles to know when the Lord would launch His kingdom, they needed to understand what He would do with them within a few days. Jesus gave a new program for the apostles and His unique mission with this verse. This verse is our Lord’s final commission for the church.
you shall receive power
The Lord here assured the apostles that He would give them endowed power to accomplish His mission. It was a power given by God to witness for gospel presentation.
when the Holy Spirit has come upon you;
The endowed power of the apostles would come from the Holy Spirit after the Lord’s Ascension. This power would commence and continue the church age until the Rapture.
and you shall be
The three geographical names show a broadening of the mission of Christ to the world. The 11 apostles would testify or witness about His purposes in the world.
witnesses to Me
The apostles’ ministry was to witness about a person, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Jerusalem was the capital of Israel. The apostles carried out Jesus’ mandate by taking the gospel to Jerusalem in the first seven chapters.
and in all Judea
Judea was a province of Israel where Jerusalem was located. The apostles went to Judea in Acts 8:1-11:18.
Samaria was the next province to the north of Judea.
and to the end of the earth.”
This phrase is often misquoted “to the ends of the earth.” The word “end” is singular, to the end of the earth, to the remotest place on earth. Paul carried the work of God to new frontiers from Acts 11:19 through chapter 28.
Jesus’ last commission was to spread the gospel to the entire world.
We have heard of the Great Commission (Mt 28:19-20), but our passage deals with the last commission, the commission to take the gospel to the entire world. It is the nature of Christianity to have a heart for those who do not know Christ and the determination to take the gospel to them.