The Power of the Holy Spirit

In this message from our White Unto Harvest conference on the Great Commission, Paul Washer teaches us of the power of the Holy Spirit. Speaking on Matthew 28:15: “So they took the money and did as they were instructed; and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day. Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them. When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted.”

In his introduction, Washer says:

You may wonder, going to the Great Commission why I would start at verse 15 and why I would end at verse 17. I want to talk about the disciples and a transformation that occurred in their life. First of all, I just want to take a look for just a moment at the disciples prior to the resurrection, that is, during the three year ministry of Jesus. They were often rebuked for their hardness of heart, and their unbelief. Jesus referred to them as men of little faith in Matthew 16:8. They argued about who among them would be the greatest in Mark 9:33. In their self-righteousness and prejudice they wanted to call down fire from heaven upon the Samaritans in Luke 9:54. Once Jesus said they were stumbling blocks to Him because they set their minds not on God’s interest, but on man’s. In Matthew 16:23, at the crucifiction, these men abandoned Jesus and even Peter denied him before a little servant girl, it’s important to remember that, a servant girl, he denied Christ before a servant girl. And finally, all in all, they were not great men of value, influence, or insight, but in the very words of Jesus, they were foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all the prophets had spoken. These were the men, who were called by Jesus Christ to change the world.

Now let’s look at them for just a moment, after the resurrection, from this passage. But before we do, look in verse 15. Talking about the soldiers who bore false testimony with regard to the resurrection of Christ is says “So they took the money and did as they were instructed; and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day.” and then you see 16 “Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee.” Here we see a great division that still goes on even to this day. You see a group of men, who seek to do nothing more than discredit the witness of the Gospel, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. As a matter of fact we see an entire world system, that unbeknownst to itself is in a great satanic conspiracy, to restrain and press down the Gospel, and it is against this entire world system that opposes the Gospel, that 11 men, 11 men like I’ve just described, are called upon now, to go out into that world like sheep in the midst of wolves, and give testimony to Christ.

Now, they’ve seen Christ by the time we get to verse 16, they’ve seen the resurrected Christ, but what do we find in this passage? We find a mixture, between the reality of the resurrection, and worship, and reverence, and unbelief. First of all, I want you to look at verse 16, Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee.” – we see obedience. The master directed them, the resurrected Lord directed them to go on to Galilee, and that’s what they did. We also see reverence, or worship, when they see Him again, they worship him. So we see obedience, we see worship, everything is looking good. But then another word is used here, it says in verse 17 “But some were doubtful.” The word doubt here comes from a greek word which means “a double standing” – they did not know which foot to stand on, a foot of belief that this is the resurrected Christ, or a foot of unbelief… It’s the same word used of Peter when he’s called upon to walk upon the sea, and he’s filled with doubt and he begins to sink. So even after the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and their visibly beholding Him, we can see that it has an impact upon them, but we see something very very important. Not even the reality of the resurrection of Jesus Christ is enough to transform these men. They are still doubtful. They are still unsure.

Now, what am I trying to say? There is a need for pentecost, there is a need for pentecost, because when we get to pentecost, we no longer see any wavering among these men, we see nothing. Here is Peter, now I want you to think about this. He denies Christ, the Messiah, before a servant girl – a little girl! Now, before I go on, have you done that? Called upon to witness at a gas station, hand a tract to someone, just one individual, and you can’t muster up enough courage, you walk out of there ashamed. Can you identify with Peter? Let’s go on… After pentecost, we no longer see this type of wavering. What do we see? We see the very thing which Jesus promised, and here’s what He promised. Luke 24:49 “Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.” Acts 1:8 “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” So here we see Peter denying Jesus Christ before a servant girl, after pentecost, we see Peter standing before the entire Jewish nation, all of it’s leaders, the very men who crucified the Lord, and boldly proclaming Christ. Now my dear friend, it may be good if we just dismissed right now and you simply try to wrap your mind around that.