Who has believed our message? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? - Isaiah 53:1 NASB
Father God asks us a question through Isaiah the prophet. “To whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” Or to put it in another way, Who get’s to see the mighty power of the Lord?
This is the prolog to Isaiah’s wonderful description of a Messiah who would be shamed, mocked, despised, bruised and crushed.
Is the Father saying “Look at My power displayed in how I can crush Jesus?”
That’s not it at all.
What is He saying?
He is introducing a recurring theme in Word.
God’s greatest strength is demonstrated in weakness. God’s greatest power comes crashing through vessels that, to the untrained eye, seem useless and discarded.
Paul writes of it in 2 Corinthians,
And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. - 2 Corinthians 12:9 NASB
It was a huge revelation to Paul at that time, but it by no means a new concept.
In fact, it is one of God’s favorite methods.
It’s known to all the world through 1 Samuel 17 where David defeats Goliath.
Jehoshaphat demonstrates the strength of weakness in 2 Chronicle 20 by sending the singers out before the armies of Israel and winning against enemy hoards.
Four lepers, locked outside the city gates during a siege deliver the entire city from sure starvation in 2 Kings 7.
Not to mention Gideon and the Midianites, Joshua and the ambush of AI, the masses of Israel escaping the armies of Egypt, Daniel in the lion’s den, and many others.
And we find it in the Lord’s instruction to the Church as she goes forth to labor in the Great Commission.
That is where I want to camp for a few minutes.
He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth." - Acts 1:7-8 NASB
Let’s look at this promise. We’ll focus on two words.
“You will receive power…and you shall be My witnesses”
From the BlueLetterBible: Dunamis - dü'-nä-mēs
Power: strength power, ability
1.inherent power, power residing in a thing by virtue of its nature, or which a person or thing exerts and puts forth
2. power for performing miracles
3. moral power and excellence of soul
4. the power and influence which belong to riches and wealth
5. power and resources arising from numbers
6. power consisting in or resting upon armies, forces, hosts
That get’s me psyched! We’re going to receive power when the Holy Spirit comes—come on—shout it with me - POWER! Dynamite power!
But what power? What kind of power are we talking about?
Power to be a witness.
When Jesus spoke these words, (yes—I know He didn’t speak Greek, but that’s how God chose to record if for us) the Greek word for witness had a pretty straight forward meaning. Much as you would expect, it meant one who gives testimony—one who tells what they have seen and heard.
So what’s the big deal—why the need for power?
As it turns out, this group who went forth as witnesses to the resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ changed the meaning of the word.
The Greek word we read as witness in Acts 1:8 is the word ‘martys.’ That’s right—it’s where we get our word martyr.
You see, this band of disciples took their testimonies and turned the world upside down. Yes there were signs and wonders accompanying their testimonies, but the most striking sign to the world that hated this message of the cross was not healings or miracles.
It was men and women laying down their lives.
It was the power of the cross manifest in multitudes of Christians dying for their faith.
So much so that the word witness came to mean one willing to die for their faith.
This is power made perfect in weakness.
This is God’s greatest demonstration of power.
And this is the promise of Acts 1:8—When the Holy Spirit comes, He will give you the power to lay down your life.
Thanks for coming by.
Keep the light on!