Saturday, April 26, 2008
Power to Bless?
“James and John saw this, they said, "Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?"
But He turned and rebuked them, and said, "You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men's lives but to save them." And they went to another village.”
It seems to me that the power of Pentecost (that fire and wind event, which stands out as the prime example of God's power working in and through Jesus' followers, and becomes both a model we look back to, and an experience we hope to discover for ourselves) has a central motivating factor which is so simple that we overlook it.
The power of Pentecost seems to be that of granting blessing.
Jesus was none too happy with the "sons of thunder" who wanted to call fire down upon those who rejected the message of Christ. Though Peter had to call the young men to carry Ananias' and wife's bodies out of the house, this was not the common power motif of the book of Acts. The few instances of power judgments appear to be the exception and not the rule. The stories of healing and deliverance far outstrip the stories of power judgments in the New Testament, and any general reference to power encounters in the New Testament do not mention judgments, but always blessing.
I have heard a great many prophecies of judgment during my 28 years as a Christian. I have not seen these judgment prophecies come true - at least not with any accuracy beyond that which monkeys playing the stock market would achieve. I would think that if we see judgment as a power play by God during these current days that we like James and John have misunderstood the "manner of spirit [we ] are of."