The Tabernacle Scroll

Issue 68

“My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power (1Cor. 2: 4-5, emphasis mine).

In the 'great commission' (Matt. 28:19-20a), we see Jesus calling us to bring people fully under his reign, into the kingdom of God. It is a kingdom conversion, in which people are brought into a new reality, a reality in which the supernatural becomes natural. The promise of the Holy Spirit was implicit in the great commission. Just before the commission Jesus had said, "all authority in heaven and earth has been given to me (v.18b)". Then, after commissioning he said "and surely I will be with you always, to the very end of the age". Through the indwelling Spirit we receive the authority of Christ which is the authority of the Father. The Greek word translated 'authority' in this passage, exousia, denotes power, which was divinely given to Jesus.

The late John Wimber (of Vineyard Christian Fellowship), author of the books Power Evangelism and Power Healing respectively, refers to these two dynamics as content and context. Content has to do with the telling about the kingdom. Context has to do with the impregnation of God's presence and power in the situation. To put it simply, when the gospel is preached, the words and works of God are coupled in an expression of God's divine will and mercy, culminating in the conversion of individuals and groups.

When Paul visited Athens (Acts 17:16-34) he had used persuasive words, with meagre results (v. 34). He learned a lesson from this and we would be wise to learn from it too. But at his next apostolic stop, in Corinth, we are told that 'many believed' (Acts 18:18). Why? It appears that at Corinth, Paul combined proclamation of the gospel with demonstration of its power, just as Christ had done throughout his ministry. We too should expect demonstrations of God's power when we preach the word.

But a word of caution: We must be careful not to reduce the proclamation of the gospel to a technique or formula. We are not to become reliant on our own wisdom, style, eloquence, oratory, programs or our money in the proclamation of the gospel. When we are God-dependent our inspired (though rational) presentation will be transcended by supernatural demonstrations of God's presence.

Let's not forget that every time we meet in Jesus' name, He is present in our midst.

Expect miracles!

            Devotional                                                                                                                            Preach The Word The Word with Pastor Joseph Rodrigues