You Have the Energy of God
You Have the Energy of God
The world is running out of energy – oil, coal, gas and so on. How do we ensure sufficient energy supplies to sustain life? Where will we find this energy? Now, we are searching anxiously for power ‘from above’ – trying to harness the almost limitless power of the sun.
All of us face the same problem as the physical environment, but on a spiritual level. You stand before a choice: do you look for the energy you need in yourself and the resources of your intelligence and your entrepreneurial spirit, or do you look for it ‘from above’, from the risen Christ, the Sun of Righteousness?
In the passages for today we see something about the extent of God’s energy, power and strength. Whereas on a physical level we struggle to harness even a fraction of the power of the sun, God has given you full access to his endless energy through Jesus’ resurrection and the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Where does it come from?Psalm 68:28-35
Energy, power and strength come from God. This psalm ends on a note of confidence as David proclaims that ‘the God of Israel gives power and strength to his people. Praise be to God!’ (v.35). Amazingly, God promises to give you his power and his strength.
David prays, ‘Summon your power, O God; show us your strength, O God, as you have done before’ (v.28). In contrast, he is dismissive of any attempt to seek power elsewhere. He talks of the worldly power of an evil regime, ‘Rapacious in her lust for silver, crushing peoples’ (v.30, MSG). Yet he knows that ultimately such power ‘will submit… to God’ (v.31). David knows from his own experience that God’s power is more than enough for all his needs.
Thank you, Lord, that you will give ‘power and strength’ to your people. Fill me today with your energy, power and strength.
What is it like?John 19:28-20:9
God gives to you the same energy, strength and power that he used to raise Jesus from the dead.
I remember a time when I was speaking at a conference for church leaders. I had been speaking for several hours each day and felt completely exhausted and drained. During a break, I happened to open The Message Bible translation at Ephesians 1:19–20: ‘The utter extravagance of his work in us who trust in him – endless energy, boundless strength! All this energy issues from Christ: God raised him from death’. I felt re-energised from above.
In this passage, John emphasises that Jesus had truly died. When he had ‘completed’ (John 19:28a) the job he had been given to do, thereby fulfilling the Scripture (v.28b), he cried out, ‘“It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up (paradoken) his spirit’ (v.30).
His last act was to give the gift of the Spirit. He breathed out his Spirit as later he would breathe on his disciples and also give them his Spirit.
Death by crucifixion could be sped up by breaking the person’s legs. In Jesus’ case, this was not necessary, as he was already dead (v.33). ‘Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water’ (v.34). At death the clot and serum of the blood separates, and this would look like blood and water. John provides good medical evidence that Jesus was truly dead.
It may be that there were already people at the time arguing that Jesus did not really die, but only seemed to. This view came to be known as ‘docetism’ from the Greek word dokew, meaning ‘seen’. Mohammed was influenced by docetic views. The Quran states, ‘They did not kill him, neither did they crucify him; it only seemed to be so’ (Sura 4:157).
John emphasises that Jesus really did die – he gives the physiological evidence. He also shows that Jesus’ death was in accordance with the will of God revealed in Scripture: ‘These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken,” and, as another scripture says, “They will look on the one they have pierced”’ (John 19:36–37).
In the blood and water flowing from the side of Jesus, we see a symbol of hope. The ‘blood’ symbolises his life poured out for us. Water symbolises the Spirit. The water flowing from the heart of Jesus will heal, cleanse and energise us all.
The body of Jesus was wrapped in linen cloths and seventy-five pounds (34 kg) of spices. If anyone had removed the body, surely they would have removed the lot. No thief would have left the only items of value. Jesus certainly could not have taken the grave clothes off himself (humanly speaking). Yet the disciples found ‘the linen cloths lying there, and the kerchief used to cover his head not lying with the linen cloths but separate, neatly folded by itself’ (vv.6–7, MSG).
William Temple, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, pointed out that the language used is extraordinarily vivid, and ‘such as no invention would devise, no freak of imagination conjure up’.
On this evidence, it is hardly surprising that when the disciples saw, they believed (20:8). At this stage no one had even seen the risen Jesus. Yet the evidence of the state of the tomb and the absence of Jesus’ body was enough in itself to convince them of the resurrection.
They had believed that Jesus was the Messiah before. But this was different. They ‘saw and believed’ that God’s power and energy had raised Jesus from the dead. Jesus was alive again. This was unexpected sunshine. Winter was over. Spring had come.
When the New Testament speaks of God’s love, the focus is the cross. When the New Testament speaks of God’s energy, power and strength, the focus is the resurrection (Ephesians 1:19–20). We rightly think of power belonging to God. Yet we so easily forget that God’s power is also ‘for us who believe’ (v.19).
The same power and energy that raised Jesus Christ from the dead now lives in you.
Lord, thank you for your extraordinary love; that you were willing to die for me. Thank you for your resurrection, and that the same power now lives in me. I pray you will fill me with that energy today.
How do we receive it?1 Samuel 29:1-31:13
Do you ever feel exhausted, at a low ebb, not knowing how you will be able to cope with all the problems you are facing?
These were terrible times for the people of God. David had reached a low ebb in his life. He had got himself in the position of being about to fight for the Philistines against Israel. But then, even the Philistines decided that they didn’t want him.
He gets back to find that the Amalekites have captured his and his men’s wives, sons and daughters. The result is an explosive mix of grief and anger. The whole company was distraught at what had happened, and David’s followers then turned the blame on him, threatening to stone him (vv.4–6).
But in the middle of all his problems, ‘David strengthened himself with trust in his God’ (v.6b, MSG). This was the turning point in David’s life. Those who, like David, have turned to God in their deepest distress have been repeatedly amazed at the speed with which he has been able to change their fortunes.
As the men return from battle, some of his men did not want to share what they recovered with those who were too exhausted to fight (vv.21–22). But David was wise enough to see that everyone has a part to play in God’s work. He replied, ‘No, my brothers, you must not do that with what the Lord has given us… The share of the man who stayed with the supplies is to be same as that of him who went down to the battle. All shall share alike’ (vv.23–24). Those who do the less glamorous work are just as important as those who hit the headlines.
As we read of the death of Saul and his sons, it is clear what a brutal world they lived in. Saul takes his own life in order to avoid being abused in the way that Samson was. Faced with such dangers and barbarism it must have meant so much to David to strengthen himself ‘with trust in his God’.
Follow David’s example – spend time with God strengthening yourself, being re-energised and then trusting him wholeheartedly, believing that he is in you by his Spirit and believing that you are able to do whatever you need to do through him.
Lord, thank you that whether we are at our lowest ebb or facing great trials and challenges or just facing the ordinary struggles of life, we can all find strength and energy in the Lord our God.
It is so good to see Nicodemus back and a continuation of his story. His original conversation with Jesus in John 3 must have had a huge impact on him. It could just have been a one-off discussion, but here he is collecting the body of Jesus having bought, at great expense, seventy-five pounds of myrrh and aloes. You never know the impact of a conversation with someone.
Verse of the Day
‘It is finished’ (John 19:30).
William Temple (ed), Readings in St John’s Gospel: First and Second Series (MacMillan, 1963), p.360.
Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version Anglicised, Copyright © 1979, 1984, 2011 Biblica, formerly International Bible Society. Used by permission of Hodder & Stoughton Publishers, an Hachette UK company. All rights reserved. ‘NIV’ is a registered trademark of Biblica. UK trademark number 1448790.
Scripture marked (MSG) taken from The Message. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.