Peter Larson makes one of my favorite quotes about Jesus: “Despite our efforts to keep him out, God intrudes. The life of Jesus is bracketed by two impossibilities: “a virgin’s womb and an empty tomb”. Jesus entered our world through a door marked,”No Entrance” and left through a door marked “No Exit.”
The relevance of the Christian message relies wholly upon natural impossibilities: the Holy Spirit’s impregnation of Mary, the birth of Jesus, His history altering death, resurrection from the dead, and ascension into heaven. The gospel is meaningless separated from the supernatural power and activity of God. Once Jesus ascended He promised that the Holy Spirit would come to us in a power experiencing way: “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you…(Acts 1:8). Interestingly, when the disciples of Jesus asked Him for wisdom in verse 6 (‘Lord will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel’) Wisdom Incarnate explained that what they needed was power! That word is actually ‘dunamis’ defined as ‘miraculous power, usually by implication, a miracle itself’. From it we get the English words, ‘dynamite’, ‘dynamic’, and ‘dynamo’, all words that describe aspects of power.
Jesus Himself and the writers of the New Testament emphasized the importance of the power of God. Jesus said in Mark 12:24 (NET translation), “Aren’t you deceived for this reason, because you don’t know the scriptures or the power of God?” Some translate the word deceived as ‘mistaken’ or ‘do err’, but the essence is that because you do not know both the scriptures and ‘the supernatural power of God’ you have ‘gone astray’, ‘wandered from the truth’, or ‘have been seduced’. Many emphasize the importance of the scripture as the sole means of being orthodox. Other emphasize the power of God as being essential. Jesus said that both are!
Consider well the words of Paul the apostle: “but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men” (1 Corinthians 1:24-25). When the real Jesus is preached, encountered, and believed in both wisdom and power must be in attendance.
In our generation some will try to seduce us with human wisdom, concluding and expounding falsely that the miraculous power of God is no longer available. That kind of wisdom is not wisdom at all: “And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God” (1 Corinthians 2:4-5). Our very faith must be rooted in the very power of God!
Consider also the strong warning Paul gave us for our times: “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! (2 Timothy 3:1-5). The kind of power the gospel offers not only heals people, it changes them and enables them to live supernatural and exemplary lives. We must be those that embrace that kind of gospel.
If you don’t have power, find out why. Its not wrong to expect it. Its not wrong to believe in it and for it. Its wrong not to have it. We won’t get the job done without it. Don’t settle for a sub-par, watered down, false-wisdom based message or life style! Its not the gospel!