In the days before Pentecost the disciples had not only the physical presence of Jesus, but the O. T. Scripture, fasting, and prayer. Yet we read how Jesus was continually frustrated with them. Also Jesus was telling them what he was going to do, but what He was saying wasn’t getting past their own theology; it was getting in the way of them hearing Jesus.
The actions of the disciples teach how we frustrate Jesus today. Today the Christian not only has the completed Scriptures, prayer, and fasting, but we also have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and the church. And we have even more. We have the power to move mountains. We have God’s wisdom if we will ask for it and believe we have it. We are told the gates of Hades cannot stand against our confession of faith. We are promised that nothing can separate us from God. We are promised that all are sins are forgiven. We are promised that all we have to do is ask, seek and knock, yet we stand around with our arms hanging down, lacking power, and failing to experience the power of the Christian life.
The power of the Christian life is available to you if you would just have it. Paul wrote, “Put on the full armor of God.” Isn’t it time you stopped being a Marvin or a Mary Milk-toast and do what Paul said to do? Isn’t it time you began acting like a citizen of the Kingdom?
Has there ever been a time when you thought you knew Jesus very well, and then suddenly He seem to pivot and head in a new direction. At that time did Jesus seem quite different to you? Did the Jesus you knew suddenly seem like a contradiction to you? Was it because He was leading you in a direction that you did not want to go, or even want to think about?
The reason for His change lies in the severity of his call. Jesus is committed to the building of the Kingdom God, and his church. He is committed to the battle against all the forces that are against God and man, and He must have those associated with Him be just as committed. Jesus in his day gathered many people around him, and even today He gathers many people around him, but those who follow always find a strange sifting going on by Him. He is always asking, “Will you go where I’m going?”
Like the prophet Nehemiah who rebuilt Jerusalem with a trowel in one hand and a sword in the other, so Jesus came to build and fight! Jesus says to anyone who follows him, “Deny yourselves, and take up My cross.” The battle Jesus is fighting will not be won by popular acclaim, but by solid building and hard fighting. Jesus asks, “Who is coming with me? Who will fight? Who will build?” If our answer is, “I will go!” Then we must be ready for change.
The superlative desire of Jesus is to teach His followers His mind. Paul states this is so, “We have the mind of Christ” (1Cor. 2:16). What is the desire of Christ for us? That we would have His mind, for wisdom of the world leads to nothing. What does it mean to have the mind of Christ? When exploring this question three things seem to emerge: The beauty of Holiness, the possibilities for things lost, and the beauty in claiming lost things.
What is, “The beauty of holiness,” (Ps 96:9)? We know that Jesus came from God, (Cf. John 17:3), and because Jesus came from God it was written of Him, “How great is His goodness, how great is His beauty,” (Zech. 9:17). God sent Jesus, consequently all things were viewed by Jesus through that relationship, and the issue of holiness is always beauty.
When Jesus came into the world He found beauty spoiled. Despite what he found, He knew that everything had the possibility of restoration, renewal, and recreation. He knew this because He knew God and that gave Him a conviction of the possibilities for lost things.
Jesus knew the beauty of holiness, and the possibility for things lost, and therefore He considered His death on the cross to be the highest glory that could be granted to Him. Through His death God’s beauty would be known in creation, and those things lost would be restored. This was the master inspiration of His mind, and thus he emptied Himself!
Good morning and happy Easter to you. Thank you for sharing this Resurrection Day with North Valley Christian Church. In our regular Sunday service we have been working our way through the Book of Matthew, but today we are taking a break from our regular service to celebrate the most important day in the history of all creation; the day Jesus rose from the dead.
The resurrection of Jesus goes back to the beginning of time when God promised He would do it, and the patriarchs put their faith in that promise. The prophets foretold of it and the scribes preserved it. The Psalmist wrote songs about it, and the faithful sang about it. As improbably as it sounds Jesus did it, and today the faithful know it.
Some two thousand years ago God’s grace and mercy kissed on Calvary’s Hill, and three days later bad news lost for all time when Jesus rose from the dead. What does Jesus empty tomb mean to someone today? It means on that day Jesus seized death by the throat and defeated it. On that day the world went from frustration to restoration by the resurrection of Jesus. And on this day we celebrate what Jesus’ resurrection does for us.
Jesus, what a Savior,
When we read the Bible we are introduced to people who, because of various factors of life, find themselves distant from God. This theme of distance reminds me of Dt. 4:29, “But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul.” This verse speaks to us, for at one time we all have found ourselves separated from God. The verse teaches that distance between us and God matters not; what matters is if a person chooses to remain distant from God.
The question is, “How does one find their way back to God?” The answer is in three parts: First, “From there.” From where you find yourself at this very moment. The second is “If.” If is the emphasis, for it means the choice is yours. If you seek with all your heart and soul. Then comes the great song of the verse, “You shall find him.”
Where do you find yourself today? Desperate, weighted down, and distant from God? Then this verse is for you. When you are done with your games, and emotional foolishness God can be found. If you will put the fiber of your being in to the business of seeking God, He will break upon you in light and glory, but never till then. The moment you set out to find God with your heart and soul you will find God close at hand as your next breath.
When we read the Gospel accounts of Jesus we can’t help but notice Jesus continually came into conflict with the Pharisees. The reason for the conflict was He revealed the truth that was hidden in their hearts – hypocrisy. Today many are in conflict with Jesus because they resent what Jesus reveals in their heart – hypocrisy. Thus Jesus always puts mankind at the crossroads; either Jesus Christ is the supreme authority on the human heart, or He is not. Let me just say that if Jesus is not the supreme authority of our heart then he is not worthy of our attention.
Reading the Bible is like looking into a mirror and seeing ourselves. We see the hypocrisy of our heart, the emptiness of our good works, and we come away appalled at the possibilities of evil that lies within us. We are awakened to the fact that all Jesus said is absolutely true, and, if for a moment just have some honesty, we have to admit that purity is something far too deep for any of us to arrive at naturally. Therefore, the only thing that truly provides protection against these appalling possibilities is Jesus’ redemption.
The word redemption is a great word. It means the chains are removed, the cell doors are opened, and the prisoners are set free because the price has been paid. Accepting Jesus redemption means handing yourself over to him every-day and in every-way, and you will not have to experience the terrible possibilities that lie within your heart.