The Power Of The Spirit: a Reflection on Psalm 138, 1 Samuel 8:4-11, 2 Corinthians 4:13-5:1 and Mark 3:20-35
Jesus does not divide but unites. In Mark 3:32-35, Jesus responds to the crowds outside a house where he was staying when he was told his mother and brothers were outside asking for him. Jesus said, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” And looking at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.” No favorites. No preferences. Love God and love others. That was then and is now the core of Jesus’ message. Regarding the uniting message of Jesus, Stan Jantz, author of Fire & Wind, writes,
In my journey to better know the Holy Spirit and his role in my life, I have come to understand that living on earth is anything but ordinary. I am a temple of the Holy Spirit, both as an individual and as a member of the body of Christ…. I have everything I need to live a supernatural life…. If we are truly supernatural beings, we need to live that way…. This power is not just for those believers who watched Jesus ascend into heaven. This power is not just for a few Christians. This Holy Spirit power is for all those who have put their faith in Jesus Christ alone by faith alone…. The Spirit-filled church shows the “supreme unity” of the people who come together to worship and use their gifts in the service of others, so that Jesus may be glorified.
Unity is key. There is one baptism in the Spirit and one body of Christ. There is one Father, one Son, and one Holy Spirit. Division is not of God. It is not God’s will.
God’s will is clear. It is the same for each one of us. Trust God. Remember, tell and live God’s ways. Psalm 138:3, 8 reads, “On the day I called, you answered me, you increased my strength of soul…. The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever.” The voice of the Lord is powerful.” 1 Samuel 8:19 reads, “But the people refused to listen to the voice of Samuel; they said, ‘No! but we are determined to have a king over us….’” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 reads, “So we do not lose heart…. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure, because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal.” And Mark 3:24 reads, “If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.”
In both the 1 Samuel 8 and Mark 3 narratives, the unity of the Godhead and unity of the people of God is emphasized. The Israelites wanted a king just like other places in the known world. However, God was the King. Samuel asked God, and God told Samuel to warn the people of the problem of a human king but to allow them to get what they wanted if they insisted. The people that witnessed Jesus casting out demons and healing people did not understand Jesus living as King in the midst of the kingdom of the world. Jesus called people to unite in his ways. Whoever remembers, tells and lives the ways of Jesus, loving God and loving others, are Jesus’ brothers and sisters. Jesus’ gracious spirit is the Holy Spirit that lives in each and every family member. Jesus’ message is counter cultural.
Being filled with the power of the Holy Spirit unites all Christians as members of Jesus’ family. Doing the will of God in the power of the Spirit reminds you of all that Jesus taught and unlocks the image of God in your life. Living in union with God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, as an individual and a member in the body of Christ, is how you experience that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. Moreover, the Holy Spirit motivates you to live the Greatest Commandment, The Sermon on the Mount and Matthew 25. Again Jantz writes, “This is the essence of the baptism and power of the Holy Spirit…. It’s a baptism of service, sacrifice, and suffering. Recognize a need. Seek Jesus himself. Be obedient. Pray for the power of the Spirit to be unleashed, encountered and experienced in your life, in the church.
Do the will of God. Obedience keeps you focused on loving God and others. The Holy Spirit gives you the power and strength to be the best Jesus someone sees and experiences.
Stan Jantz, Fire & Wind (Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 2020), 96, 98, 102. In the two paragraphs of textual analysis above, I have benefited from the thinking of Daniel L. Smith-Christopher, J. Scott Hudgins, Eunjoo Mary Kim, Scot McKnight, Dan R. Dick, William Greenway and David J. Schlafer in Joel B. Green, Thomas G. Long, Luke A. Powery, Cynthia L. Rigby and Carolyn J. Sharp, editors, Connections, Year B, Volume 3 (Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster John Knox Press, 2020), 54-57, 57-58, 59-61, 62-64, 64-66, 67-69 and 69-71. Stan Jantz, Fire & Wind, 135.