Messenger or Message?


“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the farthest parts of the earth” (Acts 1:8 NET).

I was supposed to turn this in on the 19th of May so that it would be ready in time for Pentecost. It is the 31st as I write this. Calendars got the best of me.

At Pentecost, the Spirit arrived, the disciples witnessed to a mixed crowd in unlearned languages, and Peter preached with insight and poignancy (cf. Acts 1:8). But only when the Jews martyred Stephen—and when martyrdom threatened the rest of the Church—did the Church scatter, leaving Jerusalem and accomplishing the rest of the verse (Acts 8:1).

That is, perhaps, power through failure (and perhaps a little ethnocentricity).

In Judges 7, after God’s merciful fleecing, Gideon’s gumption bubbles to the surface, and he finally follows the command that started the whole episode. Israel would combat the Midianites. But while Gideon gathered thirty-two thousand soldiers, God sent away all but three hundred. So when they beat the Midianites, it was not them that beat the Midianites (cf. Judges 7:2).

Power through smallness.

And “if the Gospel required the potentates of this world for its planting and preservation, God would not have committed it to fisherman,” (Luther).

Through ineptitude.

So I spare no effort in crafting this message, and also, I am late. And shall it proceed in power through lateness? Shall it proceed at all?

Our idea of power and God’s idea of power are not the same. And thank God, or else we might never have left Jerusalem.

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