Saturday, April 7, 2012
Happy Resurrection Day!
This is what the early church quoted to one another. Christ is risen indeed: a fact that we as modern Christ-followers are accustomed to, but that rocked the world of the first followers. Can you imagine watching your Lord tortured and hung in humility to die when you had hoped He was going to claim the throne of Israel and end the oppression that weighed heavily on your people for generations? Such betrayal, such disappointment and confusion. But then Sunday happened - and most were in disbelief. However, in His kindness (and sometimes comical way) Jesus Himself appeared to His loved-ones to prove that He was truly alive. I find it interesting that He chose to show Himself only to His followers during His 40 days on earth after the resurrection. Surely He could have stood before those who put Him to death to prove to THEM that He was truly Who He claimed to be! But He did not. And His purpose in spending time with those who loved Him? We would be too bold to claim to know for sure, but one thing is true - those who deserted Him as He was beaten, tried and crucified, and then hid in fear those days following...NEVER wavered again after spending time with the risen LORD. They were themselves persecuted and martyred, many dying horrendous deaths, but surely not afraid ever again. They now spoke with authority, boldness and unwavering courage.
But, not only had they spent time with the risen Lord, they now had the Holy Spirit. During His last days before His betrayal, Jesus told His disciples this in John 16:7: "It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you." They had no clue Jesus was speaking of His death, resurrection and ascension - but they soon realized what He meant when the Holy Spirit came upon them at Pentecost- they had power and courage like never before! And so can we...
Francis Chan writes in his book Forgotten God these words: "It really is an astounding truth that the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you. He lives in me. I do not know what the Spirit will do or where He'll lead me each time I invite Him to guide me. But I am tired of living in a way that looks exactly like people who do not have the Holy Spirit of God living in them. I want to consistently live with an awareness of His strength. I want to be different today from who I was yesterday as the fruit of the Spirit becomes more manifest in me. I want to live so that I am truly submitted to the Spirit's leading on a daily basis. Christ said it is better for us that the Spirit came, and I want to live like I know that is true."
Friends, we have access to the same Spirit that gave the disciples power to do miracles and the courage to stand for Truth in the face of death...let's "keep in step with the Spirit" by abiding in Him...resting quietly and listening, then acting in obedience to what or where He leads!
God bless all of you - and Happy Easter!!