“More power!” grunts Tim Allen on the set of Home Improvement. The sales person brags, “This new 4X4 has the highest horsepower in its class.” There’s no question that power impresses. But man’s power is puny compared to that of nature. A tornado can pick up a house as though it were a child’s toy. A fire can devastate a thousand acre forest. The first Pentecost arrived with the sound of a tornado and the sight of fire, but there was even greater power at work behind these signs.
These were the evidence of ultimate power–the power of God the Holy Spirit.
This was the fulfillment of Jesus’ promise to His disciples; “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you” (Acts 1:8). By the Spirit’s power Peter and the others were able to preach Christ crucified to the crowds in their own languages. This was an unprecedented miracle, something only God could bring about.
But the Spirit did far more than give remarkable linguistic ability. He powerfully worked within the heart. He opened the disciples’ eyes to see and understand Jesus’ mission in a way they never had before. Like so many others, they expected the Messiah to establish and rule over an earthly kingdom which would provide physical peace and prosperity. Even after the Lord’s resurrection the disciples asked: “Lord, now are you going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” But on Pentecost the disciples proclaimed Jesus Christ as the Savior from sin who was raised to life, exalted at the Father’s right hand, and who rules in hearts by faith.
Not only did the Spirit give understanding, He transformed timid, weak men into courageous witnesses. In the garden when the Lord was arrested, the disciples abandoned Him and ran for their lives. Now they stood up and accused their listeners of crucifying God’s Son. They pleaded with the people to repent of their sin and turn to Christ for forgiveness. That kind of power did not come from themselves, but from the Spirit sent by the Lord.
Working In You!
But do you know what’s really exciting? The Spirit is still just as powerful as ever, and He is working in you! Look at what He has done. By nature you were dead in sins, but through the Spirit’s power in the water and Word of Baptism, you are now alive in Christ. How is it that you recognize and confess Jesus as the Son of God who suffered your burden of guilt on the cross? It is the Spirit at work within you.
Would you like more power for daily life? Would you like to be stronger in your faith, know more about the Lord, be more joyful and confident in your salvation, better able to fend off Satan’s temptations? Don’t count on your own abilities or strength. Look to the Spirit’s power as He works in you through the Word. The more time you spend with the Word, both privately and in fellowship with other believers, the more the Spirit will work in you. Would you like to be a more courageous witness for the Lord — and yet find yourself reasoning, “I can’t do it . . . I don’t know what to say or how to say it”? Look to the Spirit. Count on His power to give you the strength to confess Jesus as Lord and Savior to your family, friends, co-workers, and any others whose lives touch yours.
Never underestimate the power of the Holy Spirit. A tornado can move a house, but the Spirit can move the heart! A fire can ignite a forest, but the Spirit can set a life on fire! As Paul says: “My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power (1 Cor. 2:4-5).
That is real power!
— Pastor Michael Eichstadt