The word of His power. This is a phrase that we don’t hear in our modern speech, but it is wording that is found in Scripture, specifically in the opening of the book of Hebrews:
“Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,”
This same creative power was not only extended to Jesus’ work of creation, it also was on display when He was living among us. The same word “power”, or the Greek word δύναμις which is transliterated as dynamis, was used when people who met Jesus discussed His miraculous works:
“and coming to his hometown he taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished, and said, “Where did this man get this wisdom and these mighty works?”
“And they were all amazed and said to one another, “What is this word? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and they come out!””
And it is the same word that Jesus used when He said this to His disciples, as recorded in the first chapter of Acts:
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.””
This same power is available to us when we are doing that which God has told us to do, specifically when we are witnessing of His great love for us as shown through His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Praise our God and Father for the work of His Son in creation and in sustaining our universe through the power of His word. Praise Him also for sending His Son to save us from our sin so that we could have life everlasting with Him. Silence yourself and worship our God.
“”Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!””
Father, I thank You for your Son and for His marvelous works in creation. I thank You, Lord Jesus, for your wondrous love as evidenced by your sacrificial death on the cross, and I thank You, Holy Spirit, for your work in quickening our hearts so that we can believe and have saving faith in our Lord. I pray that I would silence my fears and concerns so that I can be still before You, as I glorify You, my God and my Redeemer.
When we look at the New Testament scriptures, we see a pattern that reveals the importance of prayer, not just corporate prayer during Sabbath services but private, personal, intimate prayer with our Creator, Savior, Loving God. In all things, Jesus is our example, so we look to Him for our understanding of personal prayer.
Jesus prayed intensely in the Garden of Gethsemane before being betrayed, arrested, tried and crucified, and He asked three of His disciples to support Him during this time.
“Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray.” And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. So, leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words again.“
Matthew 26:36-44 ESV
He was sad, sorrowful, asking the Father if there was a way that His assumption of our sin could be avoided. In other words, “isn’t there some other way?” Haven’t we cried the same thing to our Father?
But Jesus’ prayer didn’t stop with a refusal to do what the Father directed – He continued to acknowledge God’s sovereignty, saying, in essence, “Your way is the best. If you want me to do this, so be it. I will obey.”
We have all had the experience of confronting a huge problem, frightening news that upends our universe. Perhaps it is news of a deadly disease, or the fracture of a marriage that had seemed perfect. Perhaps the violent, unanticipated loss of a child or spouse, or perhaps the agonizing vigil with an aging parent who no longer knows who you are. We pray hard during those times. We seek the Lord’s face and ask the hard questions, most of which begin with the word “Why”.
There are a myriad of reasons that God allowed the difficult circumstance and we will never ever know all of them, but we can have confidence that they are all directly tied to His plan for your life. He loves you and, even in the hard times when all logical arguments fail and it is sheer pain, unadulterated panic, and fear, if you are His child, He is holding you in His hand. He wants you to understand that His grace is available and that His power is all-sufficient … trust Him and let Him hear all your fears, pain and panic. Don’t try to sugarcoat your thoughts and feelings — He already knows them. He will hold you and respond saying “my grace is sufficient for you.” 2 Corinthians 12:9.
Jesus not only prayed when faced with the agonizing ordeal of the cross, He prayed, routinely, regularly, even when His ministry was at its peak and he was beset by many who wanted to be healed and to hear Him teach.
“But now even more the report about him went abroad, and great crowds gathered to hear him and to be healed of their infirmities. Buthe would withdraw to desolate places and pray.”
Luke 5:15-16 ESV
In fact, He often would withdraw from people so He could be alone with His Father, in prayer.
“And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray.“
Matthew 14:23 ESV
“In these days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God.“
Luke 6:12 ESV
Jesus even told His disciples and those around Him that private prayer between them and the Father is more important than praying before others, as the hypocrites did.
“But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”
Matthew 6:6 ESV The disciples understood that prayer was important, so in Luke 11:1 we have the record that, after Jesus had been praying, they specifically asked Him to teach them to pray. It is this request that gives us what we call “The Lord’s Prayer”.
Private prayer was important in the Old Testament — David said:
“But I, O LORD, cry to you; in the morning my prayer comes before you.”
Psalm 88:13 ESV
Private prayer was important in the New Testament — The New Testament church also prayed earnestly for the spread of the Gospel and for the growth of the church.
“All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.”
Acts 1:14 ESV
“So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church.”
Acts 12:5 ESV This is the humorous scenario that we read about, when Peter was miraculously released from prison and came to the house where people were praying for his release, but the maid would not let him in because she didn’t recognize him as the one for whom they were praying!
If prayer was important to Jesus, if prayer was important to the disciples who lived and walked with Him, if prayer was important to the early church, it should be important to us.
Individual prayer – it is important. Take time to be away from work, household chores, telephone, television, children, spouse, even well-meaning prayer partners … have dedicated time to talk with God on an intimate, individual basis. Then listen. Prayer is a benefit that Christ has secured for His sheep. Don’t ignore it.
So, have you prayed today?
Father, forgive me when I have ignored spending time with You. Forgive me when the trivial has overridden the important, when materialism has crowded out the eternal, when I have sinned by saying a “prayer” that is a thinly veiled demand that You act on my behalf in a certain way. Forgive me, Father. Help me to put Your desires ahead of mine so that You will is done in my life and in the lives of those with whom I come in contact. May I sincerely say “Your will be done”.
I remember when I was a young child, my parents did some remodeling to our house and it involved purchasing paint, which they did from Sherwin-Williams. That was my introduction to Sherwin-Williams and I have always associated the name with high quality paint and beautiful colors.
Recently, those memories were revitalized when we were driving down the interstate and I saw a Sherwin-Williams truck on the highway. I don’t know why, but I did a double take on the logo that was prominent on the vehicle. Actually, it is also on the company’s retail stores as well and, I discovered after a quick Google search, it has been the company’s logo for a v-e-r-y long time.
Sherwin-Williams celebrated its 150 year birthday in 2016 and I learned the company has had its current logo for over 100 years.
According to the collective mindset at Google, apparently some have opined that the time for a new logo has long past, but the logo remains. I personally think it conveys exactly what the company wants to say – use our product and color the world. If the logo works, and says what the company wants it to say, I really don’t find changing it to a more “trendy” something is necessary. But, I digress.
My point here is that when I saw the truck pass by, I thought of its application to the Church. The logo might be something we want to remember as we seek to do the will of our Lord Jesus Christ as we obey the command to “go into all the world” with His gospel.
Scripture tells us that after His resurrection and immediately before Jesus ascended into heaven, he said these words to His followers:
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.”
Acts 1:8-9 ESV
As believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, we are to cover our world with His gospel of grace and forgiveness through God’s grace and belief in Jesus’ atoning death on the cross. We are not just to talk about our faith with our friends who believe as we do; we are to be witnesses in our home, in our city, in our state and throughout our world.
In this respect, some people think that being a witness means giving a testimony of prepared words, written by someone else and memorized so that you will go out and say those “magic” words: that is not a definition of “witness” however. Webster’s dictionary has many subparts of the definition of “witness” but they all require personal involvement, personal information, personal observation … you are a witness if you have seen something, not if you have simply heard of it secondhand.
Therefore, Jesus’ command that we are to be witnesses implies that we are to tell others that which we have seen or experienced, telling them of our own personal experiences with the Lord Jesus Christ. In this way, your witness becomes forceful because you know what you have experienced so your words come from your heart.
This kind of retelling your experience with the Living God is not new … it is even older than 2000 years ago when Jesus walked this earth. The concept goes farther back by millennia.
In Exodus, the LORD is instructing Moses to tell the people about the Passover and of the importance of remembering God’s miraculous works in their lives:
“You shall tell your son on that day, ‘It is because of what the LORD did for me when I came out of Egypt.'”
Exodus 13:8 ESV
Jacob understood the importance of telling others what God had done for him:
“Then let us arise and go up to Bethel, so that I may make there an altar to the God who answers me in the day of my distress and has been with me wherever I have gone.”
Genesis 35:3 ESV
In the Song of Deborah, she says:
“To the sound of musicians at the watering places, there they repeat the righteous triumphs of the LORD, the righteous triumphs of his villagers in Israel. Then down to the gates marched the people of the LORD.”
Judges 5:11 ESV
In the New Testament, Paul sends Tychicus to the church at Ephesus so that he can be a witness to that which is confronting Paul:
“So that you also may know how I am and what I am doing, Tychicus the beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord will tell you everything.”
Ephesians 6:21 ESV
Cover the world with our Lord’s gospel. What an incredible thought, that we could cover the world with the Gospel of Peace. I recognize that we all can’t be missionaries to some far off land, but we can be witnesses to our family. We can be witnesses to the neighbor next door or across the street. We can be witnesses to our business associates or customers. What if, just what if, we painted our little spot on the earth with the Gospel of Christ, and the next nearest Christian painted their little spot on the earth with the Gospel of Christ, and what if our spots overlapped just a little … what if …
Father, help me to be a witness in my home, neighborhood and to all I meet. Give me that winsome personality that would draw people to You by the Holy Spirit as I greet them through Your grace. Let my words be infused with Your love, and let my actions reflect that I am Your child so my witness will be sincere and true. And give me courage to testify to others of Your mighty works in my life.