The Power of the Most High by Scarlett Stough

An angel was sent to Mary of Nazareth to tell her that she would give birth to a son. “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1:26-35)

By the power of God, the Son of God became flesh in the body of a human infant named Jesus. (John 1:1-3, 14) After Jesus had grown and had been tested in the desert (Luke 4:1-4), he “returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit….”

People were amazed, wondering what the source of his power and authority was. (Matthew 13:54-57) He ordered evil spirits to leave the people they were tormenting, and they obeyed. He ordered illnesses to leave the suffering, and even diseases obeyed. He went from town to town preaching the good news of the kingdom of God. (Luke 1:36, 38-39; 5:17; 6:17-10; 8:46; 4:43)

Jesus also sent his twelve disciples out with power and authority over demons and diseases. They were sent to preach and to heal. (Luke 9:1-2) Later, when he sent seventy-two disciples out, they returned celebrating because the demons had submitted to them through the name of Jesus. Jesus refocused their joy on the mission itself, rather than the power used to carry it out. He told them to rejoice because “their names are written in heaven.” (Luke 10:17-24)

The power, manifesting in miracles, had a purpose--repentance.

Woe to you, Korazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted up to the skies? No, you will go down to the depths. (Luke 10:13-15)

As Jesus rode toward the Mount of Olives on the back of a donkey, a crowd of disciples praised God for all the miracles (same Greek word translated power) they had seen. They were rejoicing, but Jesus was weeping because most of the people who saw that power “did not recognize the time of God’s coming” and would suffer for it. (Luke 19:28-44)

Jesus promised his disciples that at some future time he would return “with power and great glory.” He promised redemption. (Luke 21:27-28)

During his last meal with his disciples, “Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God.” Although he had power and authority as the Son of God, he laid that aside to serve mankind by allowing himself to be executed to pay for all of our sins. (John 13:3-7)

After his death and resurrection, Jesus continued to teach his disciples. He promised them “power from on high.” (Luke 24:36-49) This power was given so they could accomplish the mission he gave them. “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

He continued: “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 1:1-8)

Jesus returned to heaven; the disciples, about 120, remained in Jerusalem waiting and praying. (Acts 1:9-15) On the day of Pentecost they received the power that Jesus had promised. (Acts 2:1-4) The result was the addition of 3000 more disciples to their number. Their numbers continued to grow. (Acts 2:42-47)

When the religious authorities tried to stop the disciples from speaking about what they had seen and heard, (Acts 4:1-22) those who had repented (who had turned back to God) gathered together to pray for power to continue.

“Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly. (Acts 4:29-31)

The power Jesus sent to his early followers is still at work today. Jesus was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead. The gospel, that good news of redemption from the power of sin and death, “is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.” (Romans 1:16; I Corinthians 1:17-18) This power of the Most High does not usually impress with amazing healings and miraculous signs and wonders. This power can even be counterfeited. (II Thessalonians 2:9) But for those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God, that power can turn a mundane existence into a life of significance now and for all eternity.

For the Scripture References and related Bible Study Guide, go to Bible Study Guide: These Miraculous Powers.