Some people have a special ability to influence and inspire a large number of people. Their exceptional attractiveness and charm enables them to generate enthusiasm and loyalty. They light up a room just by walking into it. We could say that such people have charisma.
While some people seem to be born with charisma, the “wikiHow” website assures us that we can learn charisma by practicing these 5 skills: exuding confidence, standing tall, making people feel special, being witty, engaging others.
However they got it, the people we know who are popular usually have a certain amount of charisma. So do celebrities, and, for better or worse, some political leaders.
Jesus, too, had charisma. People were attracted to him not only because of his teaching and miracles, but also because of the strength of his personality. In his presence, they experienced a special confidence and hope in God.
Charisma comes from the Greek word charis, which means “gift, favor, grace.” The Apostle Paul uses charis many times to talk about how the Spirit of Jesus gives gifts to those who have faith in Jesus—gifts of wisdom, knowledge, service abilities, and healing, among others. All of these gifts come together in the church, making the church “charismatic.”
Our main scripture text for Sunday, Aug. 17, is from Acts 9. There we see Peter doing the same kinds of powerful works that Jesus did. He is able to do them because he has a special kind of charisma, the charisma of Jesus.
The amazing news is that the same charisma that Peter had can be ours, too. Jesus comes to live in ordinary people like us, and gives us gifts to bring his healing and hope to others. In the church, Jesus’s charisma makes us—yes—“charismatic.”