The Secret of Spiritual Strength
Luke 24:49
And, behold, I send the promise of my Father on you: but tarry you in the city of Jerusalem…

How came it to pass that the apostles of our Lord became such strong men and did such noble work for their Master and for mankind so soon after they manifested such weakness as they did? We consider -

I. THEIR INSUFFICIENCY UP TO THE TIME OF THE ASCENSION. They had been receiving for many months the inestimable advantage of Christ's own teaching for their mental enlightenment, and his own influence for their spiritual ennoblement. And this teaching and training cannot have been - we may confidently say was not - without very great value throughout their subsequent course. Yet they undoubtedly lacked something which would complete them for the great task before them. They showed but scant determination (Matthew 26:41, 43), but feeble courage (Matthew 26:56), but little understanding of their Master's aim (Acts 1:6); and this, too, at the very close of his ministry, when their great and special privilege was expiring. Something more they sadly needed to prepare them for their work.


1. Its announcement and its confirmation. It was first predicted by the prophets who preceded our Lord (Isaiah 44:3); and more particularly Joel (Joel 2:28, 29). It was renewed and confirmed, at first more indefinitely, and here more definitely, by our Lord (John 14:16, 26; John 15:26, 27; John 16:7; text).

2. Its historical fulfilment (Acts 2:1-11).

3. Its permanent results. These men, whose character and whose fitness for their grand and lofty mission left much to be desired, "endued with power from on high," became wonderfully equipped for and admirably adapted to the noble mission to which Christ appointed them. They became strong

(1) to stand in the evil hour of temptation, defying the authority of Jewish council and the sword of Roman ruler; they became strong

(2) to suffer, rejoicing that they were "counted worthy to suffer shame" for the Master's sake and Name; they became strong

(3) to testify, "with great power" giving witness to the Resurrection, and great grace being on them all; they became strong

(4) to grasp the great central and saving truths of the gospel, making known to their own compeers by their speech, and to all time by their letters, the "mystery which was hidden from the generations," the great and gracious purpose of God to the whole race of men; they became strong

(5) to build and work, to lay the foundation-stone of the gospel of Christ (Ephesians 2:26), of that Church of the future which has already endured for eighteen centuries, and is more than ever bent on the conversion and conquest of the world. We know what made these weak men strong, these failing men to triumph. It was the power of the Holy Ghost resting upon them, opening their eyes that they might see, quickening their souls that they might feel, nerving their hearts that they might stand, strengthening their hands that they might labour and achieve.

III. ITS LASTING LESSON. It is this which, if anything does, will make us strong also. What the Christian workman wants is the power which comes immediately from God, the inspiration of the Divine Spirit; in truth, the same bestowal as that which the apostles were now promised and afterwards received. The miraculous endowments which accompanied the gift of the Holy Ghost were but the accidents of the bestowal. The power to heal without failure or to speak without error was nothing to the power to testify without fear and to live without reproach.

"Though on our heads no tongues of fire
Their wondrous powers impart," we need, as much as they did then, the illuminating, sanctifying, empowering influences of Heaven - "God's Spirit in our heart." Without that, our most heroic efforts will fail; with it, our humblest endeavours will succeed. To gain that we must have

(1) purity of heart and aim;

(2) earnest and believing prayer. - C,

Parallel Verses
KJV: And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.

WEB: Behold, I send forth the promise of my Father on you. But wait in the city of Jerusalem until you are clothed with power from on high."

Spiritual Power
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