Many of us say to ourselves, “Oh, if only I could have walked with the Master 2,000 years ago. If I could have heard Him speak, seen His miracles, been there when he raised the dead, then the life of faith would be so much easier.” You might be surprised. The teachings of Jesus are the most beautiful and important teachings that humanity has ever received. We are still trying to understand the full import of them, but they are not enough. Jesus’ death on the cross of Calvary was a turning point in the relationship between God and man. But even the cross is not enough. Peter was still a reed, not a rock after the crucifixion. Judas had walked with Jesus and witnessed all His miracles, but still he betrayed him. The others fled and deserted Jesus in the face of impending danger. There are those who want to see Jesus only as a great teacher, but it is not enough. Others want us to see how Jesus died on the cross and say that is the kind of courage and sacrificial love we need in the world today. It is, but it is not enough. If the story of Jesus had ended with his life, teachings, miracles and death on the cross, it is clear that His disciples would have gone back to their previous occupations and Jesus would have been forgotten long ago. It was the experience of the risen Christ that transformed that little community of followers into a dynamic force that sought to turn the world upside down. And it was the availability of the risen Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit that sustained that dedicated company through every kind of persecution and peril imaginable.
What we should ask of the church of today is this: Are we an organization or an organism? Are we just a club for nice people, a society to teach helpful traditions and a pressure group to force goodness on a bad world? Or, do we live, move, multiply and exert influence through a force outside of our own? There are so many doubters, nay-sayers and unexpectant people within the church today that one would think that the Lord’s last words on earth were “Do the best you can, fellas!” Instead, his last words were “I am with you always!” There isn’t one obstacle in front of us now, or any that will come up against us in the future, that can stand against the resurrection power God has given His church. The times may be bad and darkness may be increasing around us but what a great backdrop for demonstrating that the Light of the world is still shining brightly within His church.
Senior Pastor of Cactus Christian Fellowship