Intimidation! Palpable intimidation – you could feel it! I mean, after all, they had just murdered Jesus! So here are his followers, huddled together on Sunday, in a little room with all the doors locked. If the threatening knock came at one door, they’d at least have time to flee and scatter from the other door! They loved the Lord… They were his followers… But they were intimidated and scared!
Ever feel intimidated in your discipleship or witness? Your sense of intimidation, like mine, probably doesn’t hold a candle to what these believers were facing, but it’s real none-the-less (and if the truth were told, you’re probably ashamed of it!). In some places in our world today though, it’s as palpably real as the intimidation the disciples experienced (and we need to support those followers of the Lord with our prayers)!
But then… the doors being locked… Poof! There He was in the room! And his encouraging… yes “empowering” message? “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you!” And then he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit! If you forgive the sins of any – they are forgiven! If you withhold forgiveness from any – it is withheld.” (from John 21:19-23)
From intimidation to empowerment in one incredible moment!
Now there’s a lot of theological discussion about this pre-Pentecost moment in the lives of the disciples… I’m not going to get into that today (and I do have my opinion about it). But I will say this… I believe those intimidated followers of Jesus experienced the power of the Holy Spirit in that little room that day! It may not have been “the full load” they got on the day of Pentecost, but it was real! And they were “empowered” in more than one way… Empowered by the Holy Spirit – and empowered to overcome their fear and act redemptively in an intimidating, threatening environment!
My prayer this morning… Oh Lord, step into my locked rooms of fear and intimidation that keep me from redemptive activity because of fear! Breathe on me! Empower me by the power of the Holy Spirit to do your will!