Rev. Dr. & Rev. (Mrs.) Charles & Faustina Mantey
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).
Cambridge Dictionaries online defines strength as the ability to do things that need a lot of physical or mental effort. The key word in this definition is “ABILITY.” Todd Hargrove explains: To be strong is to have ability. In life, in the gym, and in relationships. The ability to overcome the physical, emotional, or subjective obstacles that hinder our progress as human beings. That is strength.[i] We can therefore surmise that, “ABILITY” is the energy that enables us to resist every physical, spiritual, emotional or mental pressure poised to hinder our progress in life.
According to Luke, the above passage was part of Jesus’ last words to his disciples before leaving for heaven. As expected in any farewell gathering, emotions were high. For three and half years, Jesus had developed a special bond with these twelve men. He has walked with them, ate with them, laughed and wept with them. Together, they had faced oppositions from men and Satan. As well, they had suffered hunger and tasted what it meant to lack money to pay their taxes. Jesus had shown them the glory of the Father through the amazing miracles he wrought before these disciples.
Being both divine and human, Jesus understood the emotions of his disciples. He could see the tears in their eyes. He could also see the despair and fear on their faces. He knew the weight of tons of questions on their minds. As a good leader, he calmed them by assuring them of his inherent spiritual strength to be given them when he told them; 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).
“Power” alluded to in this passage, in Greek, could be translated in two different English words. A) Power is the word “exousia” which means “Authority.” [Relating to] jurisdiction, power of government, choice or judicial decision.[ii].B) “Power” is also another Greek word “dunamis” which means ability to perform (Strong concordance). It is with this power that miracles are performed. Christians will also need this same power to enable us to grow in sanctification for glorification in heaven.
The “power” Jesus referred to in Acts 1:8 is “dunamis” as has been explained in “B” above. Here, we see Jesus drawing the disciples’ attention to a spiritual resource that is only inherent in him to provide them with the kind of spiritual strength they would need to carry on the work he has called them to do. With this strength, the disciples could perform miracles just like him. They would have the ability to be role models as they lived above reproach. Through this spiritual strength, the disciples could touch heaven and ask for divine intervention to thwart every attack of Satan in their lives and ministries.
Naturally, the preceding paragraph should create a desire in every Christian to ask for the “dunamis” power upon their lives and ministries; but we see the contrary. Why? There are some Christians who believe in the cessation of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. They argue that, the centrality of Scripture and preaching is what leads to salvation. Hence the operation of all spiritual gifts has no relevance on our lives and ministries today. They support their view with passages like; Paul’s word to the Romans: For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile (Romans 1:16). Jesus’ warning to his detractors, "An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign" (Matthew 12:39a), and Paul’s word to the Corinthians; Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified (1 Corinthians 1:22-23a).
On the other hand, proponents of literal interpretation of Jesus’ word in Acts 1:8 argue that, though, faith comes by hearing the word of God (Romans 10:17), signs and wonders do puzzle unbelievers; as they shatter every doubt in their minds. Because, these miracles are physical demonstration of God’s power “dunamis,” in a world full of skeptics. They also point to the miracles performed by the Apostles and others when the Holy Spirit power (dunamis) came upon them. For example, Peter and John were able to bring healing to the lame man who sat at the gate of the temple (Acts 3:1-10). Peter also raised Dorcas back to life (Acts 9:36-42). Paul and Silas while praying and singing in prison in Philippi, the foundations of the prison shook; the doors flung opened and all the chains of the prisoners loosed; this miracle resulted in the salvation of the Philippian jailer and his household (Acts 16:25-34). It was because Philip, a deacon was endued with “dunamis” when he was filled with the Holy Spirit, he was able to cast out demons, healed the sick in Samaria; and many souls were saved (Acts 8:4-8). Stephen, a deacon also worked miracles (Acts 6:8-10). The Early church desired and prayed to God to authenticate their ministries with miracles (Acts 4:29-30).
With these examples, it is therefore imperative for Christians to desire spiritual strength which can only come to us through the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus’ words in Acts 1:8 is therefore, as relevant and important for our lives and ministries today, as was the case in first century church. For the power “dunamis” of the Holy Spirit does not only come to perform miracles; it comes to prepare us to be the chosen vessels for his use without any impediment. How? 1. By making us live a life that is pleasing to God. 2. By making us sensitive to the voice and directions of the Holy Spirit. 3. By making us battle ready; capable to withstand the attacks of the Enemy. The Bible says: For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 6:12).
If so, how do we get that power referred to by Jesus in Acts 1:8? Here are some suggestions:
1. Our knowledge of, and faith in God should be impeccable; to the extent that He can give testimony about us before Satan; just as He did about Job (Job 1:8).
2. There’s the need for all of us to continually evaluate our spiritual standing before God; and ask Him for forgiveness and grace if we are found wanting.
3. Our lives must exemplify Jesus by loving people unconditionally; especially, those who hurt us the most.
4. Prayers must be on top of our daily priorities. There is the need to intentionally set time aside to pray in private; or else, our busy schedules might eclipse our precious “alone” time with God.
In conclusion I want to clarify a point. Even though, we will desire to have the Holy Spirit power upon our lives and ministries by believing in the operation of the Spiritual gifts, this should not in the least suggest that, we have to replace medical science and other healing process when the need arise.
[i] Todd Hargrove. www.bettermovement.org. Accessed on January 27 2016 @10:27am
[ii] www.riversofgrace.org Accessed on January 27 2016 @ 12:04pm
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Disciples Revival Church
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