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Power at Pentecost

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“And all in the crowd were trying to touch him, for power came out from him and healed all of them” (Luke 6:19).

Power – this was the characteristic that made Jesus someone special; power that was not used to manipulate or abuse others. Power that was not used for personal gain or selfish ends. It was power for serving others, for blessing them, healing them, helping them to develop their own potential. This was an “other-centred” power and people were attracted to it.

How did Jesus acquire this power? At the start of his ministry, when the Spirit of God descended upon Jesus, a voice was heard saying, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased” (Luke 3:22). The fact that the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus is what gave him his clear identity as the Son of God, loved, chosen and unconditionally accepted by the Father. This identity gave him power and freed him to serve others.

Being secure in the Father’s love is what gave Jesus the necessary power to respond to the pain of others without feeling that he had to please or accommodate them. The presence of the Holy Spirit is what provided this new identity and the needed security to be able to wash the feet of the disciples, even the one who would betray him, as can be seen in the painting by Indian artist Bhanu Dudhat.

It is the Spirit of God that prays through us, loves and forgives, serves and works for peace. It is the Spirit of God that is the source of our joy and enables us to live in freedom, giving our lives for others. It is the Spirit of God that provides us with a new identity as beloved of the Father thus freeing us from the slavery of pleasing others. It is the Spirit of God that fills us with his power so that we may wash the feet even of those who hurt us.

César García, MWC

As we celebrate Pentecost, may our prayer be: Come Holy Spirit! Come!

[César García is general secretary of Mennonite World Conference. He lives in Bogota, Colombia. This article was first published at Pentecost 2017.

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