Do we allow ourselves to be in awe of God? What about being in awe of Jesus and the power that he is capable of? Or even the Spirit – do we let the Spirit’s power amaze us even to the point when we may be scared of what happens next?
Sometimes we become so influenced by the idea of a cultural “hippy Jesus” that we forget the raw power that Jesus is capable of. The same applies to our understanding of the Spirit.
I’ve sometimes said that many Christians, though not agreeing with cessationism, are functional cessationists. We do not always want to be confronted with the power of who God is and the miracles, signs, and wonders he is capable of. We will even deny God’s power when it is directly in front of us.
It’s because God is a being that is beyond our control. God can be, at many times, beyond our understanding and our knowledge. Seminaries and other academic institutions have advanced degrees up to the doctoral level so that people can gain a grasp of who God is through knowledge – and when God does something incredible and surprises us, it can fly in the face of decades of effort of learning and attaining knowledge. Just when we think we know who God is, we realize we barely even know the first thing. It can terrify us.
Yes – God, Jesus, and the Spirit can be a threat to the religion of a visible church living in, and often influenced by, a fallen age. So we take steps to gain control, or at the very least, make it appear that we have some resemblance of control over God, even if that is just through knowledge.
Only five chapters into Mark, we already see the disciples, several times, in utter awe of Jesus – even to the point of terror. He exercises authority over demons in a way unlike any other exorcist. In the middle of a life-threatening storm on the Sea of Galilee, he directly commands nature, and it obeys. The disciples are terrified. And afterwards, the Gentiles are scared of Jesus after 2,000 pigs run into the sea and the previously crazed man, the demoniac, inhabited by a “legion” of demons, is sitting in a right mind, dressed, normal, and healed. The gentiles are rightly afraid and ask him to leave.
God, Jesus, and the Spirit are a power that can be foreign to us. Sometimes, and even Christians do this too, when that power is revealed, we ask Jesus and his Spirit to leave. It may not be done explicitly, but perhaps implicitly through the actions we take. The visible church of this age does not always want a God, Jesus, and Spirit whose power is revealed to be beyond our control, but unfortunately a God that we can manipulate into doing our established religious bidding.
I encourage you to seek after Jesus and his Spirit in a way that is revealed in scripture. Jesus reveals incredible power, but through that power incredible acts of love are also revealed. It is not one or the other, but both. When he called his disciples on the mountain in Mark 3, he gave them the responsibilities to be with him, share his message, and cast out demons. There is awe-inspiring power in Christ for his followers to do incredible and powerful acts, such as healing the sick and casting out demons. With his Spirit in you, there is power to do what we may even think is unthinkable or impossible! We will be surprised at the supernatural acts God is capable of through us.
But first, we must recognize that awe-inspiring power that is in Christ to do the miraculous. And though we may be terrified, and though it may even be a threat to many, but not all, visible churches influenced by a fallen age, it is who God is. Being with him, as he commanded, means recognizing his power, even if we don’t understand it or can’t wrap our heads around it with decades of knowledge.
So go, spend time with Jesus, ask for his Spirit and his gifts, share his message of a powerful, Godly love, cast out demons, command healing in his name, and do what the world, and even the visible church, may think is impossible.