January 13 2019

 

 

Lk 3:15-17, 21-22

 

God gives us the power to be and the power to do – the power to live and the power to be active. This is God’s gift in creation. But we live in an ambiguous world where it is not always clear that this is so. It depends on the presuppositions that we bring to it whether we can realize this truth or whether we work on the assumption that life is ours to do with as we like. In other words, it is faith that gives us this perspective. But that is not all. God in Christ has given us the power to be in a right relationship with God and the power to do what is involved in that. This God-given power is, in Scripture, called the Holy Spirit or the Spirit of God. The Spirit is the life-giving Spirit as the prehistorical Genesis story says (Gen. 2:7): “God “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living being.” By saying that Jesus was baptized with the Holy Spirit, Luke is saying that he was empowered by God to be the Messiah and to live out that role in his own distinctive way. By saying that Jesus would baptize people with the Holy Spirit he was saying that he gives the power to be citizens of the messianic kingdom and the power to live the life of that kingdom. It is only possible for people to live the way God wants them to if they are enabled by God’s Spirit. In other words, life in the perfect realm of peace, justice and righteousness that Jesus spoke so much about under the heading of the kingdom of God cannot be lived purely by human effort. It needs the empowerment of God’s Spirit in us. So as God gives us the power to live, God gives the power to live life the way that God meant it to be lived.

 

  • What do you understand by the term, kingdom of God?
  • What has the idea of a Messiah got to do with the kingdom of God?
  • If the power to live the new life of God’s kingdom is from God, what part do we play in it?
  • What is the difference between a leader who asserts power to get others to act in a certain way and the leader who empowers others to live that way?