December 8 I Saturday
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you…” —Acts 1:8
In the 40 days leading up to Jesus’s ascension, He no doubt planned His last words to His disciples. He says in Acts 1:8, “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.” These were purposeful words, meant to ring in the ears of His church, which is every Christian, from the moment He ascended to heaven until the moment He returns to earth.
The first part of Jesus’s last words has to do with the power of the Holy Spirit. Whatever else the Spirit’s activity is going to be in our lives and in this world, it will have to do with power. The word Jesus uses for power here is the Greek dunamis, from which we get our English words “dynamic” and “dynamism.” It means power in the sense of sheer energy, force and ability. But interestingly, Jesus used a different word for power, exousia, when He introduced the Great Commission. Exousia means power in the sense of authority, as in, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me” (Matthew 28:18).
Authority without dynamism is pathetic. It is like a bus driver who has the authority to tell a disruptive passenger to get off the bus but not the dynamism to make them disembark. On the other hand, dynamism without authority is dangerous. This is the power of terrorism, which engages in displays of dynamic force without the backing of legitimate authority.
What we need is for the two to come together. Because of their position in the eyes of the law, police officers have both the authority and the dynamism to uphold the law. To an infinitely greater extent, the Lord Jesus has both the authority to declare and the dynamism to make it happen. If we combine His words in Matthew and Acts, it is as if He were saying, “All authority is mine. I have the right to tell you what to do, but you will receive power, dynamism, the ability to do what I tell you, when the Holy Spirit comes on you.”
We must never detach the lordship of Christ over our lives from the dynamism of the Holy Spirit within our lives. Jesus’s last words were not just a snappy saying but a promise. The power we receive as believers gives us His authority to declare and the dynamism to make it happen, but only and always to implement the will of the Lord Jesus that we be His witnesses.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, on my own, my will and ability will always come up short. But thank You that by submitting to Your lordship and living by Your empowering, You enable me to do Your will.
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