Supernatural Power! – Part 2
“‘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 1:8 NIV)
Now a lot of us type A personalities don’t want to hear the instruction “Wait.” We are eager to get going. But we will accomplish far more if we spend time waiting for the power of the Spirit. The work of the church needs not just the correct message concerning Jesus but also the power that Jesus promised his followers.
Notice that Jesus did not say to wait for any certain manifestation: the flickering flames, the rushing wind, or the speaking in tongues. He pointed them to their need of receiving spiritual power. The thrust in the New Testament was always toward the power itself rather than any particular manifestations that came alongside the power. Today I am afraid that this priority sequence is reversed in some circles. People are fascinated with visible manifestations rather than real power from the Spirit to do God’s work. What the New Testament believers wanted most was to receive special ability from God, and any manifestations were unexpected side issues.
The disciples didn’t get it at first; you can tell by the prophecy question they asked: “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” (v.6). Their curiosity sounds like modern times, doesn’t it, with all sorts of books and conferences on the end times but little attention given to our more pressing problems. Jesus flatly told them, “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority” (v.7). He told them to get used to vagueness on these matters. The church’s great task is not to clarify what the “mark of the Beast” is, or who the “bear of the North” is, or whether the Jerusalem temple will ever be rebuilt.
Instead, Jesus gave the disciples a divine promise that has never been rescinded: “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses” (v.8). In other words, the Great Commission of evangelism is the great work of the Church—and it will be done only in the power of the Holy Spirit.
What follows after the Ascension, as you know, is that the disciples returned to Jerusalem and began an extended prayer meeting. That was the setting in which the church was born. They patiently waited before God for the power to come upon them and lift them above themselves.
Peter would no longer be Peter the failure; he would be Peter the mighty preacher. He would be transformed, not by learning something new from Scripture, but by experiencing a new dimension of God’s Spirit. It would not be mere emotionalism, fanaticism, or psyching himself up to face the challenges ahead. It would be the reality of God supernaturally empowering his servant to accomplish his assigned task.
-Pastor Cymbala (excerpted from Fresh Power)
Read Acts 1:6-9.