As we saw this weekend, one of the main themes in Luke/Acts is that Jesus at times limited access to His God-powers (called ‘the kenosis’) and depended on the Holy Spirit for power. Luke/Acts presents this driving question to us: If Jesus relied on the power of the Spirit, how much more should we?
Jesus’ miracles were often Spirit-empowered. Luke writes before Jesus’ healing of the paralytic, “And the power of the Lord was with him to heal.” (Luke 5:17). I used to read that and think, “Well, of course it was present to heal. Jesus was there.” But Luke is indicating that Jesus’ power to heal often came from the Spirit. The same power comes upon the disciples in Acts in a number of ways to do miracles. (Acts 2:5–18, 7:55, 8:39, 13:8)
Jesus’ reliance on the Spirit enabled Him to resist sin. Luke describes Jesus during His temptation with the devil as “full of the Holy Spirit.” (Luke 4:1) Fast forward to the book of Acts, as Jesus’ disciples are dragged before the Sanhedrin to be tested, and they are described as “filled with the Spirit” to respond to their accusers. (Acts 4:8)
It is in the power of the Spirit that Jesus preached (Luke 4:14). It is how He prayed (Luke 10:21). It is how He forgave those who killed Him (Luke 23:34).
Luke makes clear: We have access to the same power that Jesus did.
In light of this, let me suggest two applications for our church:
1. Most of us depend on the wrong source of power.
Where do we look for power to overcome sin, power to forgive those who hurt us, power to lead people to walk with God? Jesus looked to the Spirit of God, and that Spirit is available to us. We just need to ask for it (Luke 11:13).
2. Some of us don’t encounter the power of the Spirit because we aren’t engaged in the mission of the Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is not a good luck charm. He came upon Jesus and the church for mission. Acts 2 describes the coming of the Spirit; Acts 1 describes the purpose (Acts 1:8). If Jesus had come as a professional basketball player, and I said His Spirit was in me, you’d expect my game to improve. But Jesus came as a servant and a witness to God’s power. When the Spirit of God comes into us, we become extraordinary at that. The Spirit isn’t given so we can be empowered for ease and wealth, but so that we can be more like Him and more engaged in His mission. I once heard a man credit the Spirit for his good parking space at the mall. In Luke, the Spirit parked Jesus on the cross. In Acts, He “parked” the Apostles in prison.
So, before you pray Luke 11:12-13, ask yourself: Do you really want the power of the Spirit? Are you willing for Him to take you to the same places He took Jesus and the Apostles?