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Covid-19 Devotionals

Power

I am sure you are aware that, when possible, Friday is my gardening day. After a long time cutting the edges with the “skaap sker” (sheep shears), I asked my opposite neighbor to help me understand how the cutting line works because our weed eater machines are the same. Both are the same make with the motor at the top end. We found that I was threading it correctly, but he had a method of dispensing the cutting line that I was unaware of.

Today was the second time in a row that I used the weed eater satisfactorily. I cut the edges first and then mowed the lawns. I was about two thirds done when the lawn mower cut out and would not switch on again. I thought it was the automatic heat switch that kicked in because the temperature was around 31 degrees C … so I left the mower to cool down and did some weeding. After about half an hour, I tried the mower again without success. So I went through the process of elimination.

I use three extension leads … so I connected a power tool to the wall plug, and it worked. Then, I moved onto the first lead and it worked, followed by the second lead which also worked. Lastly, I moved it onto the third lead and it did not work. The third lead was cut years ago (not by me), and my thinking is that, due to the heat, the tape most likely melted on the sticky sides and the wires, although not visible, pulled lose. No problem, as I have another lead I could use. Once connected, the lawn mower fired up beautifully and I could complete cutting the lawns.

Electrical equipment needs a steady supply of electrical power to function. There is no battery backup, so when the electrical power is not getting through to the unit (in my case the lawn mower), it will not work. In the Book of Acts, we read of another “power supply”, which without renders Gospel work impossible.

Ac1:4 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. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

6 So when they met together, they asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”

7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 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.”

This passage immediately precedes Jesus’ Ascension. Notice Jesus gives a command in verse 4 that His apostles (eleven – Judas was no more) remain in Jerusalem to receive the “gift” the Father promised. What is this “gift”? Verse 5 tells us that it is not the Holy Spirit … but the “baptism” of the Holy Spirit.

Verse 6 speaks of another occasion … likely very close to the meal of verse 4. On this occasion, the apostles questioned Jesus with reference to the restoration of Israel into her own kingdom again. This is what was expected and anticipated when the Messiah arrived. Now He was about to leave … would this “baptism with the Holy Spirit” be the key to kingdom restoration? It might seem strange to us, but the apostles and many others were still expecting that Messiah would be “political” and rescue Israel from the clutches of the Roman Empire. (A.T. Robertson says of “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority” … ‘a gentle hint to people today about the limits of curiosity.’)

Then Jesus says … “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.” This power has nothing to do with political power. Their question of verse 6 … “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”… Shows they understood they needed power … but they misunderstood what type of power they needed.

They needed power to spread the Gospel to the end of the world, not political power to overcome the Roman Empire, because the Gospel works in any and every country and environment. Now look at this power … Jesus said, “you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you”, which refers to verse 5 … “you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit”. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is the enabling power!

From John 20:22, it seems as though the apostles were already born again, so this does not refer to salvation. Rather, it refers to born again people, people who already have the Spirit resident (See Ephesians 1:13-14 and 2 Corinthians 5:5). The baptism of the Holy Spirit is the enabling power of God giving the apostles the courage, passion and obedience to fulfill Jesus’ instruction to be His witnesses throughout the world!

It’s remarkable that when Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem to be crucified, He instructed the apostles not to minister to the people of Samaria … yet here they are included together with all tribes and people groups to the ends of the world. It’s interesting how the apostles fulfilled this mandate. Until Acts 7, the focus was Jerusalem. Then:

Ac 8:1 On that day a great persecution broke out against the church at Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria.

Saul is converted in Acts 9 and becomes Paul. In chapter 10, Peter brings the Gospel to Romans in Caesarea and in chapter 11 he brings the Gospel to Greeks in Antioch. The rest of Acts then shows us Paul’s missionary journeys to the then-known world.

Here is the point … without the power of God (baptism of the Holy Spirit) enabling us, we will never be able to effectively share the Gospel with our family, friends, colleagues, neighbours … let alone our suburb, city, province, country, continent and world. A rover might have landed on Mars and started sending pictures back to earth … but we need to have the Spirit’s power to rove through the world with the Gospel. Just as the lawnmower needed electrical power to function, so we need Spirit power to function.

Dear God, give Your people the desire and the passion to want the Spirit’s power to evangelize for Jesus. Amen.

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