Tag Archive for: Holy Spirit

You have been given the power to lead. As a Christ-centered leader, you have received power to influence people and to communicate clearly and effectively. As you become aware of your responsibility for power, you live to discover and develop the potential of the people entrusted to your care, and the opportunity to assist them in developing their potential to lead. To be an effective and courageous leader, you learn to use your power to empower others. 

You recognize Jesus as the source of your power and that your values, character, and faith are shaped by him. You become more aware of the people God has given to you to love and to lead. Because you are able to use your power to empower others, you want to share what you are receiving with the people around you. 

So, what does this power mean for you as a leader? How does it work? Let’s use our practice of “Read, Reflect, Respond, and Return” to explore the power to lead. 

Read Luke 4:14-30 

14 Then Jesus, in the power of the Spirit, returned to Galilee, and a report about him spread through all the surrounding region. 15 He began to teach in their synagogues and was praised by everyone. 

16 When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written: 

18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
    because he has anointed me
        to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
    and recovery of sight to the blind,
        to set free those who are oppressed,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

20 And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21 Then he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

22 All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They said, “Is this not Joseph’s son?” 23 He said to them, “Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, ‘Doctor, cure yourself!’ And you will say, ‘Do here also in your hometown the things that we have heard you did at Capernaum.’” 24 And he said, “Truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in his hometown. 25 But the truth is, there were many widows in Israel in the time of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months and there was a severe famine over all the land, 26 yet Elijah was sent to none of them except to a widow at Zarephath in Sidon. 27 There were also many with a skin disease in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.” 28 When they heard this, all in the synagogue were filled with rage. 29 They got up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they might hurl him off the cliff. 30 But he passed through the midst of them and went on his way.


One of the major themes in Luke’s gospel is, Jesus not only possessed the Holy Spirit but offered the Holy Spirit to his followers. When you read both the Gospel, or Good News, of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles, you find that the beginning of Jesus’ ministry is parallel to the beginning of the church in Acts.

When looking at the whole story of the ministry of Jesus and the ministry of the church, Luke is bridging the ministry of Jesus with the ministry of the church. Both Jesus and the church are baptized, filled with the Spirit, teach, and receive the acclaim of the people.  Luke wants us to know that the spirit in Jesus is the same Holy Spirit in the church and that the God who acted in Jesus is the same God at work in the life of the church. For Luke, the church is in continuity with Jesus, just as Jesus is in continuity with Judaism, teaching in their synagogues.

So, when Jesus says to his followers, “…But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you…” (Acts 1:8), he is referring to the same spirit by which he has been anointed.  

The Power to Lead

There is much to say about this scripture like Jesus’ habit of worship, the significance of standing to read the scripture but sitting to teach the scripture, and the rejection of Jesus after expounding upon the scripture. But to keep our focus on the power to lead, let’s look at these words:

18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
    because he has anointed me
        to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
    and recovery of sight to the blind,
        to set free those who are oppressed,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

These words are a combination of Isaiah 61:1-2 and 58:6. “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me…” The word “anoint” means the same as “Christ” in Greek and “Messiah” in Hebrew. It refers to the inauguration ceremony of prophets, priests, and kings as part of their installation into office. It can be translated as “he has christed me or christened me.”

For Jesus to be anointed means that he is God’s spokesperson, God’s prophet. Jesus is anointed, not with oil, but with the Spirit, connecting this story to Jesus’ baptism. He is anointed, called, and commissioned by God.  

The anointing, the power of the Holy Spirit, is upon Jesus to bring good news to the poor, the captives, the blind, the oppressed, and those in need of physical and spiritual healing. This is his purpose. In Luke, Jesus consistently shows compassion, teaches with authority, performs miracles, and invites people to follow him. 

“The year of the Lord’s favor” refers to the year of jubilee, connecting the ministry of Jesus to God’s desire for all creation. When the question arises, “What do you mean by the kingdom of God” Luke points to the ministry of Jesus to answer the question.

Anointed to Lead

So, what does this mean for you as a leader? You have been anointed to lead, first with your baptism and then with God’s power to speak beyond the barriers that separate people from one another and from who God has created them to be. You have been anointed with the power to lead.

As a leader, you have been given a mission, a purpose, to discover the potential of others and to help develop that potential for the good of creation. It shows up in acts of trust, compassion, stability, and hope. In the words of the scripture, you bring good news to the poor, the captives, the blind, and the opposed. You have been anointed to model and teach others what it means to be anointed with the power to lead.

As a leader, you have the responsibility to connect the ministry of the church with the ministry of Jesus. Just know when you do this, there will be those who first celebrate your leadership, who will later want to remove you from leadership. You will proclaim God’s love for all people, giving examples, and modeling the way, only to have people be angry because you are communicating across the barriers that give them security and control.

Ushering in a New Day

What angered the people with Jesus was he complimented the Gentiles. The Jews were so sure that they were God’s people that they despised all other people.  The Gentles were not even considered human beings to them. Then, this young Jesus, whom they all knew, came preaching as if the Gentiles were especially favored by God. As Jesus ushered in a new day, the year of the Lord’s favor, it began to dawn upon them that Jesus was opening the door to include those who had been excluded. His message included things they had not dreamed of or approved of.

Notice that Luke does not cite a miracle, nor does he comment on Jesus’ courage or on his personal presence in walking through the hostile crowd. His point is that despite hostile opposition, Jesus continues his mission in the power of the Spirit and under God’s care.

This is what it means to have the power to lead. You have been given the power to not only face the obstacles and barriers that exclude people from God’s love, but to communicate beyond the obstacles and barriers. You have been given power by the Holy Spirit to be a witness starting where you are and moving outward to those who are marginalized and cast aside, and then moving to all the world. You have been anointed to lead with power. It is who you are as a follower of Jesus, and who you are is how you lead.


It is interesting that it was Jesus’ habit to go to the Synagogue on the Sabbath Day. I can imagine that there were things with which he disagreed, but he went anyway. The worship might not have been perfect, yet Jesus never stopped attending or of being a part of God’s people gathering to worship. 

I also find it interesting that the words read by Jesus from Isaiah 61:1-2 and 58:6, omitted Isaiah’s announcement of the coming day of vengeance. There is a difference between the message of gloom and doom and the message of hope, healing, and deliverance. It is safe to say that “the year of the Lord’s favor” is good news to all. 

Jesus Focuses on Compassion and Care

Jesus’ credentials were rooted in his focus on God’s care and compassion for people, regardless of background, race, nationality, or economic status. In the story, those listening to Jesus were looking for knowledge of the scripture, theology, and spiritual maturity. But the power to lead brings different credentials. 

Let’s suppose that Mother Teresa is being examined by her spiritual superiors. They find that her training did not include Greek and Hebrew, and that she failed her scripture memorization course. They are concerned that she doesn’t speak in tongues and has never attended a successful church growth seminar. 

The Spirit of the Lord is Upon You

Such an idea is absurd. Her credentials are that God is using her to care for the poor and outcast. She does not need other credentials. And neither do you. Please hear me. I am not saying education and training are not important. I am saying those things do not give you the power to lead. It is when the Spirit of God is upon you, you have the power to lead. 

When Jesus stood to read the scripture that day in Nazareth, the synagogue lost its relevance in everyday living. It was clergy centered and concerned more about the cultivation of mind and soul through study and praise. Not that those are unimportant, but the focus is different, whether synagogue or church. When Jesus sat down to teach, he talked of God in the present tense, and it was uncomfortable for the people who were expecting something else. 

It is much more comfortable to study and talk about the mighty acts of God than to focus on what God is doing today and your part in it. It is more comfortable to focus on church history than it is to open yourself to God each day, listen for God’s direction, and act in faith with care and compassion. You have the power to lead people into a relationship with God in every day relationships and to care for people the rest of the world has pushed aside. 

The Here and Now

One more thing I find interesting. Jesus must have known the consequences of his message. Dostoevsky said, “Men reject their prophets and slay them, but they love their martyrs and honor those whom they have slain.” We love those of the past who served God and humanity but who are now comfortably dead. Martin Luther King is now greatly revered but, while he was alive, he had many critics. Now that he is safely dead, we give him credit for bringing a new day of social justice.   

When Jesus began talking about the here and now, his hearers became uneasy. They found it surprising that their neighbor, Joseph’s son, could be so full of wisdom and grace. You know that it is easier to see greatness in strangers than it is to recognize it in your own colleagues and friends.  You have the power to lead, not based upon what others think or understand, but upon who you are as a follower of Jesus, filled with the presence and power of God. 

The Power to Lead

So, to summarize, as a Christ-centered leader, you have been given the power to remove the limits of nation, race, gender, sexual orientation, social and economic status within the community of faith. You have been anointed to bring a message of hope, healing, and deliverance to all people. Sometimes it will be through preaching. Other times it will be through teaching. You will grow through study, conversation, and reflection. You will realize the power God has given to you when you hear God’s message one way in the midst of your presumptions and prejudices and another way when you begin to be set free from long-held thoughts, attitudes, and behaviors. It is in your faithfulness that you have the power to lead others in the development of their own attitudes as Jesus followers. Who you are is how you lead. 


Give God thanks for the people you met today. 

  • In what situations did you remind yourself that God has called and commissioned you as a leader? 
  • What did you learn about yourself? 
  • What are you doing with what you are learning about God’s work in and through you? 
  • How did you interact with the people God sent your way?
  • Who is helping you remember that you are a child of God and that you have been empowered to love others as God has loved you? 
  • What will you do differently tomorrow? 
  • Ask God to give you the faith to be the leader God has created you to be.  


O God, today I give you thanks for life and work. I pray for the power to be your witness starting where I am now. Remind me throughout the day how you love me and how you have empowered me to love the people around me. I offer myself to you in the name of Jesus.  Amen