Imagine that you were a Jew living in the time of Jesus. As a faithful follower of Jehovah, you had been eagerly awaiting the coming Messiah; the King who would restore the kingdom of David and rule with justice and righteousness. You were tired of Rome's influence in Judea, and looked forward to honoring heaven's King.
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder. And his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David and over his kingdom, to order it and to establish it with justice and with righteousness, from now until forever. The zeal of the Lord of Hosts will perform this (Issa. 9:6-7).
You start hearing about a rabbi from Nazareth who was doing extraordinary miracles. He was healing the sick, raising the dead, delivering the people from demons and performing all types of signs and wonders. Once, He fed 5,000 men with only five loaves of bread and two fish. It was even reported that the disciples picked up 12 basketfuls of crumbs from the miraculous feast. He taught the gospel of the kingdom and regularly attacked the teachings of the Pharisees and Sadducees. Although He supposedly was uneducated, His understanding of Scripture was unparalleled. Could He be the coming Messiah? Many were saying that He was the one: "how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him" (Acts 10:38).
The religious leaders were jealous of Him and sought out ways to kill Him. As He entered Jerusalem before His final Passover, people were laying palm branches and their cloaks before the donkey He was riding. He had just fulfilled a prophecy and the religious leaders were furious. They made plans to kill Him.
"Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! And cry aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king is coming to you; he is righteous and able to deliver, he is humble and riding on a donkey, a colt, the offspring of a donkey" (Zech. 9:9).
You had seen enough. You were now a believer and disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ. But the religious leaders had Jesus arrested. After a mock trial, He was publicly crucified. What would you do? Could the Messiah be crucified like a common criminal? Much sadness and many questions enveloped you. What would you do?
On the first day of the week, reports began to circulate that Jesus had risen from the dead. Within a few days, the reports began to multiply. Before long, Jesus appeared to His disciples. He had conquered death. Jesus taught His disciples for 40 days. Before returning to the Father, He instructed them to not leave Jerusalem until they had received power from on High. You decided to pray and wait with them in the upper room.
But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you shall be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth" (Acts 1:8).
Suddenly, on the day of Pentecost, you heard a sound from heaven like a violent rushing wind. Tongues of fire appeared and rested on you and the others. You and everyone else were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues. It was wonderful. It was amazing. You would never be the same. The world would never be the same.
Suddenly a sound like a mighty rushing wind came from heaven, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. There appeared to them tongues as of fire, being distributed and resting on each of them, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to speak (Acts 2:2-4).
Jerusalem was abuzz. After Peter's fiery sermon, 3,000 believers joined your ranks. God had given you and everyone else a Spirit of power, love and discipline. Jesus taught that His miracles testified that He was sent from the Father, that we would be able to do these and even greater miracles, and that this would glorify the Father. Suddenly, you understood.
Truly, truly I say to you, he who believes in Me will do the works that I do also. And he will do greater works than these, because I am going to My Father. I will do whatever you ask in My name, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it (John 14:12-14).
For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and love, and self-control (2 Tim. 1:7).
Jesus came to restore the kingdom of God. Our citizenship is in heaven. We are currently His ambassadors, with full authority to bring His influence, perspective, love and power to a hurting people and desperate world. We have an assignment. We have been given the ability, means and capacity to bring a little bit of heaven into our sphere of influence with power.
Do we have the will?
"For the kingdom of God does not consist in words but in power" (1 Cor. 4:20, NASB).
Dr. James Russell is a professor of economics at Oral Roberts University.
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