Summary: Power is one of the most sought after prizes in life. But when people get it, often the results are not positive. Power has a tendency to corrupt both the people who have it and the people who feel its effect.
A Tour Through Acts ~ part 10
A Healing Touch
One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon. Now a man crippled from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, "Look at us!" So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them. Then Peter said, "Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk." Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. (Acts 3:1-8)
I like the story of the arrogant, prideful lion, who wanted to remind other animals how great he was. He went to the gazelle and roared, "Who is the king of the jungle?" Trembling, the gazelle answered, "Why, you are, mighty lion." He went next to the giraffe and roared, "Who is the king of the jungle?" Fearful, the gazelle answered, "Why, you are, mighty lion." Next, he went to the monkey and roared, "Who is the king of the jungle?" Startled, the monkey answered, "Why, you are mighty lion." Finally, he went to the elephant and roared, "Who is the king of the jungle?" The elephant reached out and grabbed the lion with his trunk, slammed the lion to the ground several times, and flung him at last into a large boulder. As the lion lay there he said to the elephant, "Just because you didn’t know the answer, you didn’t have to take it personally."
Power is one of the most sought after prizes in life. But when people get it, often the results are not positive. Power has a tendency to corrupt both the people who have it and the people who feel its effect. Often people use power to abuse, belittle, subdue, conquer, and even destroy others. In the process, they find that they become people that no one likes, miserable people corrupted from the inside out. Power has a decidedly negative side. But it can have a positive impact as well.
On the Day of Pentecost, power from heaven came down. The power of God turned despairing doubters into dynamic disciples. They had received the promise of the Holy Spirit and were clothed with power from on high. But power for what? Did they receive the power of God simply so they could feel good about themselves? Did they receive the power of God to keep it to themselves? No! They received the power of God to energize them to be witnesses to Jesus Christ in a secular society. The power of Pentecost was for people; to enable the disciples to reach out and touch human need and share the liberating truth of the Gospel of Christ. The power of Pentecost is for the paralysis of the world. It’s all about personal caring for people.
The power of the Spirit is not given so we turn inward and become exclusive as we enjoy the company of other Spirit-filled people. Unfortunately, many who have experienced a personal Pentecost in their own lives have established little, exclusive societies, complete with its own sub-culture and jargon. The questions, "Are you charismatic?" or "Have you been filled with the Spirit?" are often the critical questions. But those are really not the important questions. The questions should be: "Has the Spirit’s filling given you a ministry?" "How has the power of God enabled you to reach out to others?" "How have the gifts of the Spirit enabled you to communicate the Gospel of Christ to human hearts?" Pentecost is for the sake of the world. We must never be content to sing "Standing On The Promises" while all we’re doing is sitting on the premises. Pentecost is to enable us to reach out and touch others.
But how do you share the Gospel to people in an upwardly mobile, secular society, especially those who appear to be self-sufficient? Doesn’t it seem easier to share the Gospel with people who seem to be in desperate need—someone who has hit bottom, a wretched sinner who has nowhere to turn, who’s flat on his back? It seems easier to share with that kind of person than those who live in our neighborhood, who are upwardly mobile and affluent, who seem to have everything they need. The kind of people I’m speaking of all have nice houses, manicured lawns, at least two nice cars, fine clothes, children who are doing well in school, great jobs, and plenty of money. What more could they need?