On one occasion, while He was eating with them, He gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard Me speak about.” He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by His own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:4, 7–8
We see in these early verses of the Book of Acts that Jesus commanded the disciples to remain in Jerusalem until the coming of the Holy Spirit. Why? Because the Holy Spirit would empower them to be Jesus’s witnesses everywhere... even to the ends of the earth.
The Holy Spirit would empower the disciples to speak compellingly about God’s work through Jesus. While their direct experience with Jesus qualified them as very good witnesses; the Holy Spirit would give them the capability to articulate their experience with boldness, determination, resilience, perseverance – and with grace and love.
Yes, the Holy Spirit would give the apostles great power but as we discover in the later chapters of Acts, this would not be the power to change the conditions of the world, to overthrow Rome, or to oppress others. Instead, it would be the power to live joyfully, righteously, and faithfully within the circumstances they encountered. The power to live faithfully under Rome and, especially when the oppression was very heavy, to stand.
Not the power to hurt but to heal, not the power to discriminate but to accept, not power to seek revenge but to forgive, and certainly not power to hate but to love.
Do you find the Holy Spirit’s provision of power to be counter-cultural? Or counterintuitive? That same power – that same Spirit – resides in all followers of Jesus!
Through the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus would give the disciples, and all of us today who have trusted in Him, the ability to do great things: not necessarily to heal the physically blind, but certainly the spiritually blind by bringing them to Jesus; not necessarily to heal the physically lame, but certainly to bolster the spiritually lame; and not necessarily to prolong earthly existence, but certainly to bring people to enter eternal life through Christ.
The power of the Holy Spirit is very real to you and me today as we work, as we follow our leaders, as we lead others, as we engage with peers, as we participate in Christian ministry, as we live with family at home, and as we engage with the broader community including those we disagree with.
Where are you struggling to allow the Holy Spirit to lead you to act in Christlikeness? In such times, we can come to God in prayer:
- Praise God for the most gracious gift of the Holy Spirit who lives in all of us followers of Christ.
Ask that He would help us replace any harmful attitudes with empathy, any harshness with patience, and any pride with humility, so that love can prevail.