When the Spirit Comes with Power
In order to fulfill the Great Commission, we need empowerment from the Holy Spirit that is beyond method or technique.
Acts 2 brings us to an event that most of us are relatively familiar with—Pentecost. The drama we are dealing with here in these verses was set into motion back in Matthew 28. In that chapter, the resurrected Christ was giving a commission to a ragtag group of five hundred people including the disciples. It was simply this: "Go you, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you."
One of the overwhelming issues of that commissioning, is the "all nations" part. "I am making you, in some sense, responsible to bring to the nations this ministry and this power of God's kingdom and his grace." If we are able to really hear that commissioning, I think the first response would be to realize that is absolutely beyond our capacity in the flesh to fulfill.
I believe the disciples knew that. They didn't always know that. Right up to the end they were relying in their flesh. Peter, "I will not deny you," had to hit a wall to find out that he couldn't, in his flesh, do anything. I think they're ready to understand that the commissioning they're not getting is something in the flesh they cannot do.
I also know that Jesus knew that, in the flesh, the commissioning he was giving them was one they could not do. That is why in Acts 1he said:
[In light of this commissioning that is beyond you, I want you to] go in Jerusalem and wait for what the Father has promised. And you heard of this from me, for John [verse 5] baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now. And when this baptism comes [verse 8] you will receive power when this Holy Spirit, [this baptism of the Holy Spirit] ...
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Dave Johnson is the senior pastor at Church of the Open Door in Maple Grove, Minnesota.