The gospel of John gives an interesting narative of what happened on the first easter morning. Mary arrives at the tomb and finds it wide open! Distraught, she goes to inform the disciples, of which Peter and John hurry out to the tomb. We are told that John out ran Peter but on getting to the tomb, only peered in to see. Peter arriving later, goes straight into the tomb and there he sees the linen and the head cloth carefully folded and laid apart. Both men then leave the tomb and return home. Mary however, stayed back. Peering again into the tomb, she sees two angels sitting in there. Turning back out, she encounters the risen Lord!!!
The experiences of these three people reminds me of how easy it is to miss an encounter with the Lord. Sometimes we can be over excited and miss the details like John. Sometimes we are just not patient enough, like Peter. But if we, like Mary stay on, then the master will show himself to us and what an encounter that will be!!!
Paul prays for the Ephesian church…
(18) The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know …
(19) And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,
(20) Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,
(21) Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: Ephesians 1:18-21
God is the Almighty, Omnipotent God. Lets consider his power a little deeply.
God’s power is not primarily for his own benefit. He does not use it to brag and make a point about what he can do or to emphasize the fact that we (and any other beings) are no match for him. The bible teaches us in Ephesians 1:19 that Gods power is “for us who believe”(NLT). No wonder Paul’s prayer was that the Ephesian church would have their understanding opened so that they realise this almighty, omnipotent power that is for them. Let us look at some elements or facets of this power.
- The Power of the Cross: The power of the cross is also the power of the gospel. Because of the cross of Jesus, we have overcome sin. Sin no longer has power over us. We are free. Free to serve Jesus. Free from sin’s power which is the guilt Jesus has dealt with on the cross. In deed the bible says that, the message of the cross is the very power of God. The victory of the cross is God’s last and final punch in the face of the enemy, satan. The cross speaks of the mercy and grace of God. It symbolises the love God so had for the world. The power of the cross is the power of renewed hope. Hope that we can come back into relationship with our creator. Hope that we can escape sin’s condemnation. Hope that indeed our sin has been completely dealt with and we can stand without fear of judgement before God. (Further Meditation: Isa 53:4, Gal 3:13)
- The Power of the Blood: The blood of Jesus is that which ratifies our covenant with God almighty. The bible tells us that we overcame by the blood of the lamb and also that the blood of Jesus speaks better things than the blood of Abel. The blood of Jesus is the medium of the atonement for our sins, “for without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sin”. Praise Jesus, for his sinless blood shed for our sins. By His blood, we can enter boldly before the throne of grace and obtain mercy. Just as the old testament priests approached the Holy of Holies with the blood of animals, now we can enter in by the precious blood of the lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world. (Further Meditation: 1John1:7, Rev1:5, Heb13:12, Heb10:19, Heb12:24, Eph2:13, John 6:53)
- The Power of the Holy Spirit: Jesus said, it is needful that I go away. For if I go, I will tell the father and He shall send you another helper that He may abide with you forever John 15:16. The Holy Spirit is here to help us. As the apostle Paul puts it, “to help our weaknesses”, to empower us where our flesh cannot. Indeed to empower us over our flesh. Jesus speaking to the disciples said “you will receive power when the Holy Ghost comes upon you”. The Holy Ghost is the Spirit of truth. When we know the truth we are set free, empowered and released from all shackles (John 8:32). This is the power of the Holy Spirit. He confirms within us, affirms within us that we are of God. In bible terms, “He bears witness with our Spirit that we ae children of God: And if children, then heirs: heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ. What a blessed reality. When we know the truth about who we are, we begin to live like we should live.(Further Meditation: Luke 4:14, Acts1:8, Rom15:13, Rom15:19)
- The Power of the name of Jesus: There are names and then there are names. A names carries the full identity and authority of its owner. When we sign our name, we are putting our full weight behind the course or contract. The bible tells us that Jesus has been given a name above all names. A name at which every knee bows and every tongues confesses His Lordship (Philippians 2:9-11). Also, Jesus indicated the power of his name when he said “if you ask anything in my name, I will do it” (John 14:14). I don’t think you can get any greater affirmation of authority than that. Such is the power of the name of Jesus that He declares that we shall cast out demons in His name (Mark 16:17). There is a great account of the power of the name of Jesus in Acts 3:11-17 when Peter heals the lame man at the beautiful gate. Peter addressing the crowd that gathered said, “And His name, through faith in His name has made this man strong, whom you see an know” (Acts 3:16). John concludes his gospel account by saying we can have life by the power of His name (John 20:31). The power of the name of Jesus is the power of life, “for there is no other name … given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). (Further Meditation: Rom1:4, 1 Cor1:24)
- The Power of the Word: We owe our very existence to the power of the Word of God. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth…and God said, let us make man” (Genesis 1: 1, 26). God spoke all creation, from light to animals, into being. The book of Hebrews also says the He upholds all this by his word (Hebrews 1:3). Throughout the bible we hear God calling his people back to his word. He calls them to “harken to his word”, to “remember his word”, to “keep his word/commandments/laws”, to “write his law”, to “teach his word”. He rebuked priests and kings for not teaching his word to the people. Jesus told the disciples that they were clean because of his word (John 15:3). Jesus prayed “Sanctify them by thy truth. Thy word is truth” (John 17:17). Paul also talks about the sanctifying power of the word in Ephesians 5:26. The scriptures are full of several references to the power of the word of God. Its creative power is especially prevalent in the Psalms as the Psalmist revels in the power of the Word to shake the whole of creation (Psalm 29:5). The Psalmist also talks widely about the power of the word to build him up and make him successful and better than even his teachers (Psalm 119:99). Surely God’s word is perhaps the most important element of His Power because “by them is your servant warned”(Psalm 19:11), even as the Psalmist later declared, “thou hast magnified thy word above thy name”(Psalm 138:2). (Further Meditation: Luke 4:32, Heb1:13, Heb 4:12)
Further Meditation: Rom 13:1, 1Cor1:18, 2Cor13:4, 1 Pet1:5
Evidently, the power of God is truly “to us-ward”. I pray that we will all have our understanding opened to know and appropriate this power in our lives.