“Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit…”
“They were amazed at His teaching,
because His message had authority.” --Luke 4:32
…”and the people all tried to touch Him,
because power was coming from Him and healing them all.”
“I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in Me
will do what I have been doing.
He will do even greater things than these,
because I am going to the Father.
And I will do whatever you ask in My Name,
so that the Son may bring glory to the Father.”
“When they saw the courage of Peter and John…
they were astonished and they took note
that these men had been with Jesus.”
“After they prayed,
the place where they were meeting was shaken.
And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit
and spoke the Word of God boldly.”
These passages tell us of Jesus’ power, authority, courage and boldness being handed down to His disciples.
Where have these qualities gone today?
Why do we not experience the amazing works of God exhibited in the lives of His people in our time, and in our society?
Is God’s arm too short? Has He lost His power? His authority? Where are His courage and His boldness? Did Jesus abdicate the throne? Does He no longer possess these attributes? Are the accounts we read in Scripture just inspirational stories to give us heart while we struggle along under our own power, without any authority, weak and afraid, mildly living in the shadows so as not to attract unwanted attention?
Or is something wrong in us; in those who claim to belong to Christ? Is there something missing in those of us who call ourselves believers in Christ? Something that prevents us from seeing the power, authority, courage and boldness of Jesus from being fulfilled as He promised?
Yes, brothers and sisters, the problem is us.
We have become as the teachers of the law were in Jesus’ day. Safe, colorless, pedantic, powerless proclaimers of theology.
Currently, our normal pastors, leaders and teachers are “reeds swayed by the wind”…men “dressed in fine clothes”…not prophets and power-filled messengers of God’s Word. --Luke 7:24-26. And those of us who inhabit the pews, well, we are worse. We don’t stand up and exhort and encourage and boldly risk for Christ even among our brethren.
Jesus tells us that those who truly follow Him will do what He is doing, and more. That the Spirit will dwell in them with power. That they will boldly proclaim the Truth, even if it means shaking the foundations of religious institutions and worldly traditions. That they will be empowered to do the things Jesus did, including showing His love to all those around us.
Brethren, Jesus waits on us. Are we waiting on Him?
Are we in constant prayer as the early Church was—praying to receive the power of the Spirit that we may do God’s work in His Way?
The promises have never changed.
“Jesus Christ is the same—yesterday and today and forever.” --Heb. 13:8
Brethren, think about this.
Not one thing we do or say in our churches today requires or waits upon the power of God. Not one thing we do in our daily lives today as Christians requires or waits upon the power of God. All things in our hands take place in our own power and are within our own grasp.
God knows we live and move and do all things in our own power and authority. We’re not fooling Him.
The world knows we live and move and do all things in our own power and authority. They see our weakness and dependence on worldly things. We’re not fooling them.
Brethren, I say with sadness, and knowledge of my own failings, that we live as the pagans do. There is no visible difference. The proof is this: we depend upon, worry about, and act upon all things around us in the same manner and order in which the pagans depend on them, worry about them, and act upon them.
Often nothing in our lives as “Christians” differs from the world except the fact that we subscribe to a creed, and participate in our church activities!
We are religious. But we don’t shake the world by the power of God’s Spirit.
As Jesus went about His Father’s business, He shook things up. He caused problems. Things were never status quo with Jesus around. He shook up the pagan world, and He shook up the religious world. Jesus made people uncomfortable. He spoke Truth where falsehood abounded. He called out sin when He saw it. He reached out to help everyone hurting or hungry or thirsty, and spent His time with those in need.
To the religious leaders of His day Jesus said, “Are you not in error because you do no know the Scriptures or the power of God?” --Mark 12:24
He so troubled the waters of the conventional seas that the religious leaders hated Him. They challenged His authority continually.
“By what authority are you doing these things?” they asked. ”And who gave you authority to do this?” --Mark 11:28
Who challenges our authority today? Whom do we threaten? Whose pagan or religious ways do we shake up? Whose waters do we trouble? Where is the mightY Kingdom of God today that challenges the power and authority of Satan’s hold upon people and the world?
To all of us in the ekklesia of God—the Body of Christ—I say: We must seek the Lord God and the power of His Spirit.
We must wait upon Him, hear His Word and obey it. Leave modern ‘Christian’ convention behind and be willing to live as the Church should live, empowered to speak and act boldly on Jesus’ Truth.
Brethren, we must obey God rather than men!
Do we doubt that Jesus is the ultimate “mover and shaker” of all things? Do we doubt that Jesus is the enemy of religious convention, and comfortable apostasy? Or do we really down deep, just doubt God completely, and doubt that Jesus will have His Way?
“As He was leaving the temple, one of His disciples said to Him, ‘Look, Teacher! What massive stones! What magnificent buildings!’ ‘Do you see all these great buildings?’ replied Jesus. ‘Not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.’ “ --Mark 13:1,2
The power and authority of Jesus will throw down every monument we build to religion. We must abandon such pursuits, such admiration of worldly things, and leave them behind. Let’s seek the Lord together today!