Jehovah Can Make You Powerful
“He is giving to the tired one power; and to the one without dynamic energy he makes full might abound.”—ISAIAH 40:29.
1, 2. What are some evidences of Jehovah’s abundant power?
JEHOVAH is a God “abundant in power.” We can see proof of God’s “eternal power and Godship” in the magnificence of his physical creation. Those refusing to acknowledge such evidence of his Creatorship are inexcusable.—Psalm 147:5; Romans 1:19, 20.
2 Jehovah’s power becomes increasingly evident as scientists probe deep into the universe, with its countless galaxies stretching for hundreds of millions of light-years. On a dark but clear night, gaze into the heavens and see if you do not feel as did the psalmist: “When I see your heavens, the works of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have prepared, what is mortal man that you keep him in mind, and the son of earthling man that you take care of him?” (Psalm 8:3, 4) And how well Jehovah has taken care of man, of us! He provided the first man and woman with a beautiful earthly home. Even its soil had power—to grow vegetation, yielding nutritious, unpolluted food. Man and animals draw physical power from this display of God’s power.—Genesis 1:12; 4:12; 1 Samuel 28:22.
3. Besides the physical things of the universe, what else manifests God’s power?
3 Besides the heavens being fascinating and earth’s flora and fauna being delightful, they display to us God’s power. The apostle Paul wrote: “His invisible qualities are clearly seen from the world’s creation onward, because they are perceived by the things made, even his eternal power and Godship.” (Romans 1:20) But there is another evidence of his power that merits our attention and appreciation. ‘What,’ you might wonder, ‘displays God’s power more so than the universe?’ The answer is Jesus Christ. In fact, under inspiration the apostle Paul says that Christ impaled is “the power of God and the wisdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:24) ‘Why is that?’ you might ask, ‘And what bearing can it have on my life right now?’
Power Through His Son
4. How was God’s power shown in connection with his Son?
4 God’s power was first demonstrated when he created his only-begotten Son, made in his image. This spirit Son served Jehovah as a “master worker” by using God’s abundant power in creating all other things. (Proverbs 8:22, 30) Paul wrote to his Christian brothers in Colossae: “By means of him all other things were created in the heavens and upon the earth, the things visible and the things invisible . . . All other things have been created through him and for him.”—Colossians 1:15, 16.
5-7. (a) In the past, how were humans involved in displays of the power of God? (b) What reason is there to believe that God’s power can be manifested in the case of Christians today?
5 We are part of the ‘things created upon the earth.’ So could God’s power be extended to us humans? Well, throughout God’s dealings with imperfect humans, Jehovah has from time to time imparted extra power to his servants in order for them to carry out his purposes. Moses knew that, in general, imperfect humans live 70 or 80 years. (Psalm 90:10) What of Moses himself? He lived to be 120 years of age, yet “his eye had not grown dim, and his vital strength had not fled.” (Deuteronomy 34:7) While that does not mean that God enables each of his servants to live so long or to keep such vigor, it does prove that Jehovah can empower humans.
6 Further showing God’s ability to empower men and women is what he did with Abraham’s wife. “Sarah herself received power to conceive seed, even when she was past the age limit, since she esteemed him faithful who had promised.” Or consider how God empowered judges and others in Israel: “Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David as well as Samuel and the other prophets, who . . . from a weak state were made powerful.”—Hebrews 11:11, 32-34.
7 Such power can become operative in our case too. Oh, we may not now expect offspring through a miracle, or we may not display mightiness like Samson’s. But powerful we can be, as Paul mentioned to average humans in Colossae. Yes, Paul wrote to men, women, and children, such as we find in congregations today, and he said that they were “being made powerful with all power.”—Colossians 1:11.
8, 9. In the first century, how was Jehovah’s power made evident respecting humans like us?
8 During Jesus’ earthly ministry, Jehovah made it clear that his power was working through his Son. For example, at a time when multitudes flocked to Jesus in Capernaum, “Jehovah’s power was there for him to do healing.”—Luke 5:17.
9 Following his resurrection, Jesus assured his followers that they would ‘receive power when the holy spirit arrived upon them.’ (Acts 1:8) How true! A historian reports on developments a few days after Pentecost in 33 C.E.: “With great power the apostles continued giving forth the witness concerning the resurrection of the Lord Jesus.” (Acts 4:33) Paul himself was one who was made powerful for the work that God commissioned him to do. After his conversion and recovery of sight, he “kept on acquiring power all the more and was confounding the Jews that dwelt in Damascus as he proved logically that this is the Christ.”—Acts 9:22.
10. How was power from God helpful in Paul’s case?
10 Certainly Paul needed extra power, when we consider the spiritual and mental stamina required to carry out three missionary journeys covering thousands of miles. He also put up with all sorts of hardships, enduring imprisonments and facing martyrdom. How? He answered: “The Lord stood near me and infused power into me, that through me the preaching might be fully accomplished.”—2 Timothy 4:6-8, 17; 2 Corinthians 11:23-27.
11. As to God’s power, what hope did Paul refer to for his fellow servants in Colossae?
11 It is not surprising, then, that Paul, when writing to his “brothers in union with Christ” in Colossae, assured them that they could be “made powerful with all power to the extent of [Jehovah’s] glorious might so as to endure fully and be long-suffering with joy.” (Colossians 1:2, 11) Though those words were primarily addressed to anointed Christians, all who follow in Christ’s footsteps can greatly benefit from what Paul wrote.
Empowered in Colossae
12, 13. What is the background of the letter to the Colossians, and what likely was the response to it?
12 The congregation in Colossae, situated in the Roman province of Asia, was probably formed through the preaching of the faithful Christian named Epaphras. It seems that when he heard of Paul’s imprisonment in Rome about 58 C.E., Epaphras determined to visit the apostle and encourage him with a fine report of the love and steadfastness of his brothers in Colossae. Epaphras likely also passed on a faithful report about some problems in the Colossian congregation that needed correcting. In turn, Paul felt urged to write the congregation a letter of encouragement and admonition. You too may draw considerable encouragement from Col chapter 1 of that letter, for it throws light on how Jehovah can make his servants powerful.
13 You can imagine how the brothers and sisters in Colossae must have felt when Paul described them as “faithful brothers in union with Christ.” They were to be commended for their ‘love for all the holy ones’ and for ‘bearing fruit of the good news’ from the time they became Christians! Can these same expressions be said of our congregation, of us individually?—Colossians 1:2-8.
14. What was Paul’s desire regarding the Colossians?
14 Paul was so moved by the report he received that he told the Colossians that he had not ceased praying for them and asking that they be “filled with the accurate knowledge of [God’s] will in all wisdom and spiritual comprehension, in order to walk worthily of Jehovah.” He prayed that they “go on bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the accurate knowledge of God, being made powerful with all power to the extent of his glorious might so as to endure fully and be long-suffering with joy.”—Colossians 1:9-11.
Empowered Today Too
15. How can we display the same attitude as was reflected in what Paul wrote to the Colossians?
15 What a fine example Paul set for us! Our brothers around the earth need our prayers that they endure and maintain their joy despite their sufferings. Like Paul, we should be specific in our prayers when we get news that brothers in another congregation, or another land, are having hard times. It may be that a nearby congregation is affected by a natural disaster or some spiritual difficulty. Or it may be that Christians are enduring in a land racked by civil war or intertribal killings. In prayer we should ask God to help our brothers “to walk worthily of Jehovah,” to go on bearing Kingdom fruitage while they are enduring, and to increase in knowledge. In this way God’s servants receive the power of his spirit, “being made powerful with all power.” You can be certain that your Father will hear and respond.—1 John 5:14, 15.
16, 17. (a) As Paul wrote, for what should we be thankful? (b) In what sense have God’s people been released and forgiven?
16 Paul wrote that the Colossians should be ‘thanking the Father who rendered them suitable for participation in the inheritance of the holy ones in the light.’ Let us too thank our heavenly Father for our place in his arrangement, whether in the heavenly or in the earthly realm of his Kingdom. How did God make imperfect humans suitable in his eyes? Paul wrote to his anointed brothers: “He delivered us from the authority of the darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son of his love, by means of whom we have our release by ransom, the forgiveness of our sins.”—Colossians 1:12-14.
17 Whatever our hope, heavenly or earthly, we thank God daily for our deliverance from this evil system of darkness, accomplished by our faith in the precious provision of the ransom sacrifice of Jehovah’s dear Son. (Matthew 20:28) Spirit-anointed Christians have benefited from the ransom being applied to them in a special way so that they can be ‘transferred into the kingdom of the Son of God’s love.’ (Luke 22:20, 29, 30) But the “other sheep” also benefit from the ransom even now. (John 10:16) They can receive God’s forgiveness so as to have a righteous standing before him as his friends. They have a large share in proclaiming “this good news of the kingdom” in this time of the end. (Matthew 24:14) Beyond that, they have the marvelous hope of becoming completely righteous and physically perfect, by the end of Christ’s Millennial Reign. As you read the description at Revelation 7:13-17, see if you do not agree that this would be proof of being delivered and blessed.
18. What reconciliation mentioned in Colossians is God still accomplishing?
18 Paul’s letter helps us realize how much we owe to the greatest man who ever lived. What was God accomplishing through Christ? “[It was] to reconcile again to himself all other things by making peace through the blood he shed on the torture stake, no matter whether they are the things upon the earth or the things in the heavens.” God’s purpose is to bring all creation back into complete harmony with him, as it was prior to the rebellion in Eden. The One used to create all things is the same One now used to accomplish this reconciliation.—Colossians 1:20.
Empowered to What End?
19, 20. On what does our being holy and unblemished depend?
19 Responsibilities come to those of us who are reconciled to God. We once were sinful and alienated from God. But now, having put faith in Jesus’ sacrifice and with our minds no longer on works that are wicked, we stand basically in a “holy and unblemished” state, “open to no accusation before [God].” (Colossians 1:21, 22) Imagine, just as God was not ashamed of those faithful witnesses of old, so he is not ashamed of us, to be called upon as our God. (Hebrews 11:16) Today, no one can accuse us of wrongfully bearing his illustrious name, nor of our being afraid to declare that name to the ends of the earth!
20 Yet notice the caution that Paul appended at Colossians 1:23: “Provided, of course, that you continue in the faith, established on the foundation and steadfast and not being shifted away from the hope of that good news which you heard, and which was preached in all creation that is under heaven.” So much depends upon our remaining faithful to Jehovah, following in the footsteps of his dear Son. Jehovah and Jesus have done so much for us! May we show our love for them by following Paul’s counsel.
21. Why do we have great reason for being thrilled today?
21 The Colossian Christians must have been thrilled to hear that ‘the good news which they heard’ had already been “preached in all creation that is under heaven.” Today it is even more exciting to hear the extent to which the good news of the Kingdom is being proclaimed by well over four and a half million Witnesses in more than 230 lands. Why, each year almost 300,000 out of all nations are becoming reconciled to God!—Matthew 24:14; 28:19, 20.
22. Even if we experience suffering, what can God do for us?
22 Although Paul was evidently confined to prison at the time he wrote the letter to the Colossians, he did not bemoan his lot in any way. Rather, he said: “I am now rejoicing in my sufferings for you.” Paul knew what it was “to endure fully and be long-suffering with joy.” (Colossians 1:11, 24) But he knew that he did not do this in his own strength. Jehovah had made him powerful! It is the same today. Thousands of Witnesses who have been imprisoned and persecuted have not lost their joy in serving Jehovah. Rather, they have come to appreciate the truthfulness of God’s words as found at Isaiah 40:29-31: “He is giving to the tired one power . . . Those who are hoping in Jehovah will regain power.”
23, 24. What is the sacred secret mentioned at Colossians 1:26?
23 The ministry of the good news centering on Christ meant so much to Paul. He wanted others to appreciate the value of Christ’s role in God’s purpose, so he described it as “the sacred secret that was hidden from the past systems of things and from the past generations.” It was not always to be a secret though. Paul added: “Now it has been made manifest to his holy ones.” (Colossians 1:26) When rebellion broke out in Eden, Jehovah gave a promise of better things to come, foretelling that ‘the seed of the woman would bruise the head of the serpent.’ (Genesis 3:15) What did this mean? For generations, for centuries, it remained a mystery. Then Jesus came, and he “shed light upon life and incorruption through the good news.”—2 Timothy 1:10.
24 Yes, the “sacred secret” centers around Christ and the Messianic Kingdom. Paul mentioned “the things in the heavens,” referring to those who will share in Kingdom rulership with Christ. These will be instrumental in bringing untold blessings to all the “things upon the earth,” those who will enjoy an everlasting paradise here. You can see how appropriate it was, then, for Paul to refer to “the glorious riches of this sacred secret.”—Colossians 1:20, 27.
25. As indicated at Colossians 1:29, what should be our attitude now?
25 Paul looked forward to his place in the Kingdom. Yet he realized that it was not something for which he simply could sit back and hope. “I am indeed working hard, exerting myself in accordance with the operation of him and which is at work in me with power.” (Colossians 1:29) Note that Jehovah, through Christ, made Paul powerful to accomplish a lifesaving ministry. Jehovah can do the same for us today. But we should ask ourselves, ‘Do I have the evangelizing spirit that I had when I first learned the truth?’ What is your answer? What can help each of us to continue ‘working hard and exerting ourselves in accordance with the operation of Jehovah’s power’? The next article is on this very matter.
Did You Note?
□ Why can we be sure that Jehovah can display his power in behalf of humans?
□ What is the background for Paul’s words in Colossians chapter 1?
□ How is God carrying out the reconciliation mentioned at Colossians 1:20?
□ By his power, what can Jehovah accomplish through us?
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