Dr. Luke took up the task yesterday of playing scholar reminding us that the church exists to point people to Christ, realizing it was impossible to separate Jesus words from his works, but now we move from lecture hall to power house! Seeing that it is all about…
The Power of Jesus (Acts 1:4-5) 4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
Dr. Luke, shifts from information about Jesus’ life to application for ours! In fact, this was a very personal experience. He didn’t research in an office, library, or sitting in front of a computer to figure out whom Jesus was, but instead he traveled with the Apostle Paul. As Paul worked, Luke worked and wrote, when Paul got beat up or battered, you can imagine the doctor as his side ready to stich him up to keep him moving forward! We are told through church history and early tradition how Luke’s ministry and his work ended-“Having neither wife nor child, he served the Lord without distraction. He feel asleep in Boeotia (Greece) at the age of 84, full of the Holy Spirit” (www.brittanica.com). For Luke he not only wrote about the power of Christ, but he died full of it- never detracted or turning to the left or right!
Through his experience, the risk of having admiration without moving into imitation comes to the forefront.
I saw this kind of admiration without imitation play out first hand my last year of college. It was while I was finishing a religious studies requirement. I went to a Lutheran college, took an American Catholicism class, my professor- a bright woman was a well-regarded scholar on the topic of American Catholicism, had been invited to speak at Notre Dame University, flight and travel expenses paid for by the school, given Catholic references, and acclaim—but during the class she made a strange revelation—she is a Quaker! She doesn’t believe in Catholicism, in church doctrine, in church teaching, it is only her professional pursuit! There is clear admiration, without any desire for imitation! She didn’t want it to change her life!
The reason that we struggle sometimes, even in the church, with imitation is because we start looking at Christ like Superman—we say fully God and fully man, but we picture Jesus like Clark Kent—only wearing humanity as the casual day suit over his Superman divinity- constantly going to the phone booth and Superman S underneath–allowing him to do things we all respect- live a sinless life, honoring his parents, serving the poor, fighting off temptation. Yet we need to ask where does Jesus get his power? Jesus being fully God- had at all times the power to go to his divine attributes; however, he didn’t. What is amazing is a quick survey of scripture shows that Jesus relied on the same explosive power of the Holy Spirit that is offered to us today: 1. Jesus was conceived by the Spirit 2. Baptized by the Spirit coming down like a dove 3. Led by the Spirit fighting temptation 4. Came into his power via the Spirit 5. Rejoiced in the Spirit 6. Was anointed, empowered and tested by the Spirit!
Jesus whole life on earth is the only full testament to power of the Spirit lived out! Although we may struggle to live perfect lives, we can continually live more empowered lives! We must turn the power on, going from simply admiring what Christ did or said, to the point of imitating how he lived–who he served–and the length to which he went!