“He told them, “This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” (Reference: Luke 24:46-49 )
As a response to the passage Peter Riedeman wrote in his Confession of Faith “Christ’s kingdom would soon have to fall if he did not send out servants who are like him in nature. . . Christ will not permit a messenger to go out who is not first clothed with the power of his Spirit. Those who feel this power will heed the command of their Lord, who has sent them. They will be able to proclaim to his good pleasure the tidings they bear in his name.”
In order to bear witness we need to who and to what we are bearing witness to. Faith statements and creeds help us to keep in focus what we believe, and tells others what we believe. If the way the bear witness to God is simply through the way we live, as I have stated previously, knowing who we believe in and what we believe will be very sufficient to the task.
However, if we feel called to bear witness in other ways, more explicit and interactive ways, we need to have a plan. Not a plan of what we are going to say, but a plan as to how we will remain focused and empowered to speak and witness to our faith. In Luke Jesus equips (and had equipped throughout his ministry) the disciple with the knowledge they need. But Jesus also reveals his intention for the disciples to be “clothed with power from on high.” You will, or would have known if you were equipped and blessed in such a way. If you are not sure, pause and ask Jesus Christ and our Lord God to equip you and clothe you.
When we talk about going into ministry, that is planning on ministering directly in a church or faith institution or setting, we talk about one’s “call.” That means the feeling from within or the external affirmation from another that God intends you to bear witness in a direct or interactive way. God will not call you to that unless the Divine has given you what you need and the power to bear witness in that way. The thing is, often you do not know you have been given that power until you use it or it just comes forth. The disciples were fortunate the the clothing of the Spirit came in an obvious way – there was no question of what happened. Paul/Saul was also fortunate that his called was obvious.
Have you been called beloved? What have you done or will do with that calling? And as you wait for God’s plan to emerge, may you be clothed more firmly in the Spirit so that the knowledge and planning you need is clearly before you. Selah!