Friday, September 10, 2010

I've Got The Power

It is a shame that many followers of Jesus act like victims instead of the victorious. I have witnessed so many sincere followers of Jesus remain victims of their circumstances instead of stepping into the authority they have been given. Jesus was a man of great authority. He calmed the waters and the wind in great storms; he spoke to demons who ran away; he commanded the dead back to life; he vanquished disease; and he forgave sins. When he taught the people this is what they noted:

When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.  (Matthew 7:28-29)

The teachers taught about words on a scroll. They taught actions without understanding. They taught rules and regulations. Jesus taught from the heart because he is the Word made flesh. Jesus taught relationship that effects actions. He taught that we are governed by the Father's love. He taught this because he knew it first hand. So do we. We have experienced this love for ourselves and not in a small dosage. As a result we have been given authority through Jesus. Without Jesus we have no authority, as certain brothers discovered in the book of Acts when they tried to cast out demons like the Apostle Paul without knowing the Jesus of whom they spoke.

Before Jesus was arrested and nailed to the cross in our place, he stated this:

I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. (John 14:12)

Going to the Father meant that he was able to send our Comforter, the Holy Spirit. Jesus was limited in this place in that he had taken on our limitations. The Holy Spirit is not restricted to one place and represents Jesus' presence with us no matter where we go. He resides in each of us who have accepted the Lordship of Jesus over us. We do not always recognize the power and authority we have as a result. It is what turned Peter from a failing fisherman to a powerful orator and miracle man. The Holy Spirit changes us from people who teach words on paper to people who teach with authority from the heart. Before departing from this place Jesus told his followers:

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

Some of that power and authority appears in ways that we do not always fully understand, such as the power to forgive. It is a real authority to forgive and it takes the power of the Father's love to do it. Of all the things Jesus did, forgiving sin caused the biggest fuss for him. They thought him to be a blasphemer because "only God can forgive sins". But Jehovah has called us to himself and has called us his children. He has given Jesus as our example, the first born of many, and has told us to be like him. The Father's heart is love and forgiveness. That is the Son's heart as he takes his character from the Father and it is to be our character as well. The greatest authority Jesus gave us is to forgive those who offend us and Jehovah:

And with that he breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven."  (John 20:22-23)

It is great that we can raise the dead, cast out demons, feed five thousand from a simple lunch, heal the sick but without the love that prompts forgiveness it is all useless. We are not victims, we are the children of Jehovah. We are not powerless, we have the authority of Jesus Christ. We are not dictated to by our circumstances because we have the power to love and forgive in the face of all things and there is no greater power than this. Knowing Jesus and being known by him is the greatest thing that can ever happen to us and everything else pales in comparison. It is nothing to tell the lame to take up their mat and go home. The real power lies in the ability to forgive without reservation; to forgive in the full authority of the Father's love. That is the most important power Jesus gave us in all this authority in which we serve. We've got the power so we need to stop being victims, become the "more than conquerors" that we are, and serve him with the great passion of love again.

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