Read Acts 1:1-11, Ephesians 1:15-23, and Luke 24:44-53.

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

Repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And see, I am sending upon you what my Father promised; so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high. (Luke 24:47-49)

I pray...that you may know...what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his great power. God put this power to work in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion. (Ephesians 1:19-21)

What is this power Paul speaks so highly of? What is this power Jesus tells his disciples to stay in Jerusalem and await? This power is effectiveness. It is the ability to speak without fear. This power is eloquence and clarity and conviction.

Human power may result from strength or fierceness or vigorous action, but God’s power is spoken. God said “let there be light,” and there was light. God’s power is his word. God’s word is his action, the word of creation, the word of redemption, the word that is his son.

God’s power in us is the sort that is made perfect in our weakness. It’s not my power or my ability. It’s the spirit of power from on high. It’s clothing. We are to stay in the city of peace until we are clothed with this power. But when the disciples were clothed with this power, the world was astonished that these uneducated fishermen could speak so effectively, so powerfully.

When we are clothed with this power, we are to be Jesus’ witnesses—to tell others what we have seen. We cannot be witnesses of what we have not seen. We don’t just repeat what we have been told. We don’t go out until we have seen, and we have waited, and we have been clothed with power. But when we have seen and when we are clothed with power and when we say what we have seen, the power of that word raises the dead. It ascends to heaven and sits at the right hand of God. It is the power of God’s kingdom.

I wonder what it was like for the disciples waiting in Jerusalem to be clothed with power. Were they cowering in fear? Were they eager to go out and tell the world, restrained only by Jesus’ words? Or were they content to remain in the city of peace, waiting, waiting?

Categories: Meditation

Harry Plantinga

Harry Plantinga is a professor of computer science at Calvin College and the director of ccel.org and hymnary.org.