Jesus needs us to understand our identity. We are temples of God’s presence, infused with the Holy Spirit to enter God’s sacred presence and do ministry in His power. And so, if we as a royal priesthood are going to do His ministry, then we need to access His presence inside of us so that we may do His work with His Spirit. In fact, He demands it. After being raised from the dead, Jesus visited His disciples and told them, “I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high” (Lk 24:49).
I’m not sure how we miss this concept, seeing as how the power of the Spirit is a part of the famous Great Commission we quote so often. Not only are we supposed to baptize people in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Mt 28:19), but according to the later manuscripts of Mark, we should expect supernatural signs to happen as we evangelize.
And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover. (Mk 16:17-18)
These kinds of things don’t happen by our own power, they happen by the power of the Holy Spirit in us. And so the theme should become clear at the end of the Gospels: We are not to go alone. We are sent with the Holy Spirit and we shouldn’t even set out until we’ve been clothed with His power.
In John’s commissioning, this theme is affirmed when Jesus appears to the disciples after His resurrection and says, “‘As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.’ And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit’” (Jn 20:21-22).
For the rest of Jesus’ followers, this moment will come at Pentecost when the Holy Spirit creates such an uproar that people of all nations will have no choice but to take note.
This is an excerpt from my new book, The Rush and the Rest.