Daily Devotional – Tuesday August 22
Lord, bless me with understanding and clarity. Open me to your message and love.
The death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ unleashed a great power on earth. Jesus was the fuse of an explosion that changed the world forever. It was a spiritual power but it was given to common everyday people to use. In business we struggle mightily to empower employees to take control and responsibility. God sure knew how to do it. Jesus is the most empowered person the world has ever known. The unleashing of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost gave that empowerment to everyone.
Today’s reading from Acts describes the events immediately following the martyrdom of Stephen the 1st of many Christian martyrs. Stephen himself provides the ultimate example of individual empowerment. His example of faith unleashed the holy spirit in others. At the same time that Stephen was killed there was general persecution of Christians in Jerusalem led by Saul who we all know would soon himself become empowered in the form of Paul following his dramatic conversion and encounter with Jesus. While the persecution was intended to stop the growth of belief it had the opposite affect. The dispersion of the Christians caused the faith to grow and spread. I find it interesting that the Apostles themselves stayed close to Jerusalem; so the actual spreading of the word was done by converts after Christ’s death and resurrection.
These converts were empowered with the ability to teach, preach, heal and baptize. They were practicing miracle workers. Even a well known magician believed after baptism and helped spread God’s word. We of course know that it isn’t magic. It is God’s love in action. It is God using us (you and I) as instruments of his peace and plan. We have all been empowered by Christ’s sacrifice. We are expected to use this power for good. We have been given a great gift. It is up to us how we use it.
John Dickie, Aug. 19 2006