Praying til Pentecost Day 18

"And while they were telling these things, He himself stood in their midst. But they were startled and frightened and thougt they were seeing a spirit." Luke 24:36 (See Mark 18:14)

I have to admit a fascination with the concept of synergy. When two people cooperate to lift an object that neither of them can lift alone, they are able to do together what they cannot do apart. When two plow horses are harnessed together, they can lift much more together than they can by pulling by themselves.

Synergy is the very energy of teamwork, and it is the essence of power in the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus offers His Person and His Power through His Holy Spirit to those believers who will admit their need for His Presence in their lives.

The Apostle Paul was convinced that an admission of his weakness was the key that unlocked the door to the power of the resurrection. He stated, "God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things that are strong." (I Cor. 1:27) To the same church he later explained, "'My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.' Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore,...when I am weak, then I am strong." (II Cor. 12:9-10)

I have always enjoyed working with my daughters on projects around the house. When Ashley was a tiny two year old I taught her how to paint. One day, I was painting rooms in the house in Houston and she wanted to help. I gave her a wall and got her started with small brush and a bucket of paint. I showed her with my hand on hers how the brush needed to go up and down and the paint smoothed so there were no bubbles or streaks left on the wall. She was intent on doing what I said, and very precise. Eventually she got bored with the project and I was able to go over it with a more powerful roller and complete what she had started. Spending time with her was my real purpose in teaching her how to paint. I didn't need her help, but I wanted to spend time with her. This may be a clue to the reason God has chosen to call the disciples of Jesus to deliver His message and in the process of getting the message out admitting their need for help.

My previous positive experience in father/daughter bonding convinced me it was safe to get a little more aggressive with our youngest daughter Allyson. She was a three year old and she was intrigued with the way I hammered nails. I got her a hammer and placed it in her hands. She was excited. I cautioned her to let me help her. WE took some nails and began to pound them into a piece of scrap wood TOGETHER. It was a lot of fun for her and me. I had my hand wrapped around hers, and she had her hands on the hammer and the nails. It was a great synergistic effort. No harm! No foul! Everybody was happy. The next evening I returned home and was met at the door by a tearful toddler holding up a mangle little forefinger with both hands. Dana gave me the look. Somehow I knew this was my fault.

Allyson had found the hammer and the nails and started pounding them without my help. The result was an instant disaster. It was a mess! I scooped her up in my arms to comfort her, knowing exactly what had happened. She hit the nail very hard, but the nail was on the end of her own finger. After plenty of blood, ice and tears we came to an understanding. She would not hammer nails unless I placed my hands on top of hers to help her. If she would just admit she needed help, I could bring the power she needed for the task at hand. The power was in the presence of a father placing his hands on the hands of his child while the work was taking place.

"And while they were telling these thing, He Himself stood in their midst." Can you see the synergy that is revealed in that statement? "They" are the two disciples who had recently walked and talked with Jesus for seven miles on the downhill road to Emmaus. They had urged Jesus to stay with them longer, and share a meal. After He blessed the bread and handed it to them, they recognized their traveling companion as the resurrected Lord. The got up that very hour to travel back up the hill to Jerusalem, and faithfully and probably breathlessly delivered the news of their heart stirring encounter with the Risen Christ. The eleven remaining men of the original twelve disciples were not impressed. They had heard this wild story before and they chose not to believe these faithful messengers.

The word "While" triggers the concept of synergy in this passage. The messengers were not responsible for the response to their message. They were faithful to deliver the message and Jesus did the rest. This is a picture of the kind of teamwork that God is going to use to spread His message to a lost world. The message will require flesh and blood to knock on the door. However, the while the messenger is in the process of walking, knocking, and talking to those who need to hear the message, Jesus will take His stand in the midst of their efforts.

God invites the disciples of the Risen Lord to cooperate with Him in sharing the greatest story ever told. The power is not in the courage or the eloquence of the messengers. The power is in The Presence of the Risen Christ. Jesus showed up in the room "while they were telling these things." This is a foretaste of what is to come after the Promise of the Father is delivered to the faithful, and work of the Holy Spirit begins in the heart of every believer.

Prayer is an admission of weakness. Prayerless people are prideful people who would rather do things themselves and not be bothered with coming to God for any help. It is only when a person prayerfully admits their need for strength that the power of the Risen Christ steps in and provides His Presence in the midst of their need. The climate of prayer provides the right atmopshere for the Spirit of God to do what He does best, lift up Jesus. The messenger is not the focus of attention. Jesus is the focus. When a messenger faithfully delivers the message of Jesus, he has done his part. Jesus shows up "while" the messenger is giving a faithful witness of what he has seen and heard about Jesus . This is the synergy of the Spirit of God that makes the message effective.

The Risen Christ reveals the role of the Holy Spirit in His arrival at the room while the disciples were sharing their message. His Presence is always there whenever His followers are relaying His message. The power of prayer revealed the Presence of the Risen Christ to the two disciples at the supper table in the roadside inn near Emmaus. When the physical Presence of The Risen Christ left the room, they ran back up hill to share the good news with an unbelieving group of eleven discouraged men. They showed up to deliver the message and Jesus showed up "while they were telling these things." Praying for the Presence of Jesus to show up to honor the telling of His message is an admission of weakness. It is also an invitation for His power.

Quote of the Day: "The Holy Spirit never descends upon prayerless men. He never fills them. He never empowers them. There is nothing whatever in common between the Spirit of God and men who do not pray. The Spirit dwells only in a prayer atmosphere." E.M. Bounds