The Promise of Power

Dr. Ray Pritchard
Dr. Ray Pritchard
2018 14 Dec

“I am going to send you what My Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:49).

Jesus spoke these words when he appeared to his disciples late on Easter Sunday. At first they were frightened because they thought he was a ghost. To prove he had really risen from the dead, he ate a piece of broiled fish in their presence. Affirming that everything that had happened to him was in accordance with the Scriptures, he commissioned the disciples to preach the Gospel to all nations, beginning in Jerusalem. They were to declare to others what they themselves had witnessed.

The phrase “clothed with power” describes the effect the coming of the Holy Spirit would have on them. Clothing covers human weakness. No more would the disciples have to depend on their own power; now they would be “covered” by the Holy Spirit.

Clothing also identifies the wearer. Football players wear uniforms, as do soldiers and sailors. Christ promised his disciples they would soon have a new “uniform”—the power of the Holy Spirit.

Clothing in the Bible often identifies a person as a divine representative. Just as the priests in the Old Testament had special vestments to wear that set them apart from other people, even so the disciples would now “wear” the Holy Spirit as the mark of their relationship with God.

Clothing takes up a large part of our lives. We spend money and time to find just the right shirt, skirt, blouse, or tie. Many people have an entire closet filled with clothes for every occasion. We care about our clothing because, as the saying goes, “clothes make the man.”

What does the well‑dressed Christian wear? The answer is, the Holy Spirit. The moment we come to Christ, the Holy Spirit gives us a brand‑new wardrobe. We exchange the tattered rags of filthy self‑righteousness for the dazzling garments of a brand‑new life. For hatred we receive love. For misery, joy. For bitterness, forgiveness. For cowardice, boldness. For stinginess, compassion. For pride, humility. For envy, contentment.

What happens to those “rags” of the old life? God throws them away. We don’t have to wear them any more unless we go dig them out of the trash. And why would we? Through the Holy Spirit, God clothes us with the beauty of Jesus Christ.

No one is more beautiful than a Christian who is dressed in the Holy Spirit.

 Spirit of God, may the beauty of Jesus be seen in me today. Amen.

Musical bonus: Casting Crowns performs an updated version of I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day, a carol written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow during the Civil War.

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