One day, I came across a curious conversation on Facebook. My niece was telling of an interesting encounter. What happened? My niece was on a train and there was a man preaching God. Sounds harmless, right?
There is just one thing. The man is wearing a Superman costume and preaching God. It seems the man thought he was Superman.
When I asked, it seems the man did not say anything harmful. It was just a crazy guy in a Superman suit. This can only happen in New York City. According to Theresa, the man was relatively harmless.
I’d have left it; however, I couldn’t stop thinking of this guy. More precisely, I notice a fascinating irony. While I agree the man is likely a little crazy, I have to admire his demonstrated courage.
He is on a train and wearing a Superman costume. At the same time the man apparently seeking to tell people, about God and didn’t care what anyone thought. Why not? He’s Superman. It seems the man thought the suit would grant the power to share the Gospel. At least, this is what I hope the man was doing.
The simple truth is, Superman did not get his power from a suit. It was just something he wore, Was there something special about his name? Hardly! Superman isn’t his real name. It’s a title that his friends, at the Daily Planet, gave him.
What’s the irony that I’m seeing It is this.
You don’t have to be Superman, to share the Good News of Jesus. You don’t even need to be Superman, to pray. No special suit, title or Kryptonian DNA is required. According to Scriptures, all Christians have the power to share the Good News of Jesus. There is just one catch. Here is what Acts 1:6-8 says:
6 So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; 8 but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”
Did you notice what Jesus just told the early church? The 11 apostles were not the only ones standing there. Jesus commanded them, to share the Gospel with everyone and it was not limited to the apostles. Before doing so, they were to wait in Jerusalem and receive power.
What power? Jesus is talking about sending the Holy Spirit to empower the believers in Jerusalem. He knew that they were going to need help in a big way. With God’s Spirit, the early believers could boldly proclaim the Gospel.
It would be easy to say, “Those guys were bold and super spiritual. They probably didn’t feel much in the way of fear and doubts.” Oh? Are you sure of that? Do you care to explain this passage?
29 And now, Lord, take note of their threats, and grant that Your bond-servants may speak Your word with all confidence, 30 while You extend Your hand to heal, and signs and wonders take place through the name of Your holy servant Jesus.” 31 And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness. [Acts 4:29-31]
Peter and John were just flogged by the Jewish leaders for proclaiming Jesus. They were even threatened with worse; if they persist in telling of the resurrection of Jesus. It was a very scary moment, for them. Did you notice that they ask God, the Father for the needed confidence to proclaim the Good News?
It’s okay to be afraid. It’s what we do in spite of being afraid. The early church prayed and asked for the needed confidence. Guess what? God, the Father answered their prayers. As a result, they began to speak the word of God with boldness. Was this just for the early church?
I think NOT! If so, where did St. Patrick get the audacity to face the Druids of old? Those guys were not exactly the nicest bunch of people. How about St. Francis sharing the Gospel with the Mohammedans, during the Crusade? These men did so, with the power of the Holy Spirit. They needed God’s Spirit to do anything. Apart from God, we can do nothing for the Kingdom of God.
I am thankful for the Catholic church recording many of the exploits of these wonderful men and women of God; however, I wished they remembered to do this one thing. It would help to remind people who these Saints were. They were normal human beings, who struggled like you and me.
They were not perfect and likely had their moments. According to Scriptures, all believers in Jesus are reckoned as saints. Did you notice how Paul starts his letters? They say, “To the saints in …”. Yes, Christians are called saints. We share the same Spirit of God, as these superSaints.
Here is what set these Saints apart from other saints? They were willing to do the incredible, for the sake of the Gospel. They surrendered everything and demonstrated an unusual passion to see Christ preached; regardless of the costs. Yet, they did not do so in their own strength. Apart from God’s Spirit, they could do nothing.
Who is the gift of the Holy Spirit for? If you believe in Christ Jesus then the gift is for you. Here is the best part, we don’t need to wear a suit to have this power. You don’t have to be a pastor, priest or even a pope.
The power comes from the Son. It’s Jesus who gives us the power to pray for those in need. It’s because of Jesus that we can do some extraordinary thing, if we’d believe. Here is what Jesus says of his disciples:
15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16 He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned. 17 These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; 18 they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” [Mark 16:15-18]
Before getting any bright ideas, I’d strongly recommend asking God, the Father, beforehand. The key phrase in the above passage is “In the Name of Jesus” and not ours. It is all about Jesus.
Remember, it’s the Father who’s doing all those things through the Saints and not the believers, themselves.
Ask God for the strength and wisdom to know what’s to be done.