Clothed with Power

by Scarlett Stough

The common idea of power involves force by physical strength or strength of personality or wealth to purchase whatever is desired to gain power usually involving all of those assets. Our inclination is to believe those who tell us what we want to hear and promise us all we desire. If we give them power over us, it is because we want what they promise.

Trouble is, lies always disappoint. Leaders, political, religious or others, who promise more than they can deliver always disappoint. Friends no matter what their intention, disappoint in some way. As flesh and blood human beings we cannot control every circumstance to avoid disappointment. In reality, our power is limited and often misdirected. Each of us can think of many instances of disappointment of promises unfulfilled.

Many have included God in their list of disappointments. The problem, though, isn't with God promising more than he can deliver; the problem is we expected God to deliver on promises he never made.

When we examine the promises God did make, we find he never fails to deliver on them. Here is one of them:

“I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”—Jesus to his disciples.
Luke 24:49

Then at another time Jesus said:

“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
Luke 11:11-13

A physician and investigative reporter of his day, Luke, set out to interview the eyewitnesses of the life and ministry of Jesus (Acts 1:1-5). He records the beginning of the fulfillment of this promise:

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
Acts 2:1-4

The reason they were assembled in one place on Pentecost is found in Leviticus Chapter 23 which lists and describes the Feasts of the Lord. During Passover week which looked forward to Jesus being the Lamb of God, and in our day looks back at the crucifixion, a ceremony of waving a sheaf by the priests was done as the Sabbath of that week ended (verses 9-14). On the first day of the week which we call Sunday, they were to begin to count 7 weeks plus one day—50 days. On that fiftieth day they were to have a sacred assembly (verses 15-22). That day was the day the disciples were assembled—50 days after Jesus was resurrected. Pentecost means “count fifty.” God's promise of the Holy Spirit came right on time—God's time.

What power did the Holy Spirit give them? According to this account, the disciples, both men and women were there, were given the power to speak to people in languages they understood (Acts 2:5-12). Peter answered their questions by quoting the prophet Joel (Joel 2:28-32).

In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams….And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
Acts 2:17,21

Whenever we hear the message, the true message, about and from Jesus, we are seeing and hearing the Holy Spirit at work. The Holy Spirit also gives other gifts, but that is a study for another time. The power from on high promised by Jesus has been at work for centuries and is not yet completed. When God's time has come, he will bring about the reality which the other Feasts of the Lord represent.