THE POWER OF GOD Andy Hollifield 12-19-16
The word power is used 272 times in 260 verses in the bible. Of those, 110 times it is used in the New Testament. The phrase “power of God” is used 13 times all of which are in the New Testament. The reason I differentiate between the Old and New Testaments is because of the change of access to “the power of God”. If you notice, His power was accessed in large part in the Old Testament by the priest and prophets. There were instances like in 1 Samuel where Hannah prayed in the temple and ask God for a man-child and he gave her one. Even then in 1 Samuel 1:17, her answer came from the priest. In the New Testament however, the veil of the temple had been rent immediately upon Jesus’ death. The account in Mark 15:37 & 38 is the most descriptive. In verse 37 “And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost.” Mark’s very next words demonstrate how significant this event was. Verse 38 says ” And the veil of the temple was rent in twain from top to bottom.” Understanding the vail is of utmost importance. The vail had been commanded by God in Exodus 26:33 for the tabernacle in the wilderness. It’s purpose was to “divide” unto the people “between the holy place and the most holy.” This vail was continued in the building of the temples after Israel had entered and settled the promised land. The procedure to access God never changed until the day of the crucifixion. It always required blood sacrifices by the priests in certain ways and at certain times. Actually, it changed on the third day after because Jesus told Mary there in the garden not to touch him because he had not yet ascended. He had not yet presented his blood sacrifice to the Father on the mercy seat. After that, when he appeared to his disciples, he invited them to touch him. He has been extending that same invitation to the human race ever since. In Exodus 26 we see the layered construction of the vail with its thickness. Some say it was possibly in excess of 4 inches. Aside from the construction of the vail, it is important to understand the significance of how it was torn. It was torn from top to bottom and torn into two pieces. From the top; from where God is, down to the bottom where man is. We did not gain access to the Lord, He provided access for us. It is not a partial access but we have it instantly at all times when we call on him in prayer. The vail was “rent in twain” meaning access was opened completely. It is only restricted by our unrepented sin. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). That promise is brought to you by the power of God. As a matter of fact, the first time the word “power is used in the New Testament is when Jesus is teaching his disciples how to pray (Matthew 6:13). The next time, he proclaims that he has power on earth to forgive sins (Matthew 9:6). It was in John 1:11 &12 after being rejected by his own people as the Messiah that he gave the power to become the sons of God to as many as received him and believed on his name. It was immediately prior to his ascension that he promised unlimited access to the power of God when he told his disciples “ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you.” It wasn’t power for the sake of having power, but the power to witness of him throughout the uttermost parts of the earth (Acts 1:8). Jesus’ name is synonymous with power throughout the remainder of the scriptures. In John 10:18, he proclaimed that he had the power to lay down his life and the power to take it up again. That is exactly what he did! He laid his life down as the supreme sacrifice for our sins and rose again for our justification. The apostle Paul said in Romans 1:16 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek”. He also said in 1 Corinthians 1:18 “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God”.
From the hanging of the vail in Exodus to the tearing of the vail in the moment that Jesus died, the entire bible is filled with the power of God. In the New Testament, there are numerous cases where that same power is manifested by men in obedience to the Lord. From the preservation of mankind in the Genesis flood to the rapture of the saints in Revelation there is no denying the power of God. The only reason we fail to see that same power in the day that we live is because we have adopted a “form of Godliness, but denying the power thereof:…” (2 Timothy 3:5). I would have liked to have talked about a lot of specific miracles both in the Old and New Testaments where God demonstrated his power. I believe it is even more important for us to look into our own lives and we can see in our circumstances where God has demonstrated his power. I don’t really have to look anywhere else because I have plenty of examples in my own life of God’s great power. I hope this article will cause you to look into your own life, especially in the darkest hours, because that is where God’s light and power shine the brightest. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!