Monday, April 13, 2009

Endued With Power From On High

On the day of His Resurrection, Jesus Christ spent the morning with the women he loved. He then spent the majority of the day with two of His disciples, as they traveled from Jerusalem to Emmaus. Weighed down with grief and not believing the testimony of the women He had sent to declare the good news of the resurrection, the disciples left for the village of Emmaus, a small town about seven miles north-west of Jerusalem.

As they traveled, they met a man who seemed to be ignorant of the events of the past few days. When they shared their grief over the death of their Master with the stranger, the man chided them, " O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?" (Luke 24:25-26). The stranger spent the rest of their journey teaching them of the scriptural prophecies of the Messiah, and how the death and resurrection of Jesus fulfilled those prophecies. Somehow, these disciples did not recognize Christ until He ate with them that evening, and as He blessed and broke bread with them as He had at the Last Supper, "their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight" (v. 31).

The two disciples marveled, and immediately returned to Jerusalem, despite the late hour. The next day, presumably, they "found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them,
Saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon" (v. 33-34). The disciples told of their encounter with the risen Lord, but were interrupted by the appearance of the very man they had been discussing. "And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you" (v.36). Naturally, they were scared. But the Lord calmed their fears and invited them to touch Him so they would know that He had been literally and bodily resurrected. Luke records that "they yet believed not for joy, and wondered" (v. 41). As further proof, Christ ate fish and honeycomb in their presence, and then gave His assembled followers the same lesson He had given on the road to Emmaus, "that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures" (v. 45-46).

The disciples had all fled from Jesus in His hour of need. And yet His first words to them were words of peace and consolation. Though they had not understood His words in life, His first interest was in explaining to them the prophecies fulfilled in Him through His death and new life. And as He sent them out to tell the world the good news of redemption through Him, He promised His disciples that they would be "endued [clothed] with power from on high" (v. 49).

With that power, they were given great promises through their faith. Mark records the Lord's words:

"And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them: they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover" (Mark 16:15-18).

The stories of Christ's post-resurrection ministry give me great hope, and teach me about the loving, forgiving God I worship. That Christ would accept, love, and teach His disciples despite their lack of faith gives me courage to approach Him when I lack perfect faith. That He would comission them to do a great work and give them power to do it, and the promise that their faith would be accompanied by great miracles is a comfort to me in my inadequacy. That He would bestow His Holy Spirit on mere mortals is a gift beyond measure.

God be praised for His great love and mercy, and for the matchless gift of the companionship and gifts of the Holy Spirit, bestowed on all who exercise faith in Christ unto repentance!

2 comments:

  1. Amy, you're so awesome! Thanks for sharin your testimony! I really enjoy your thoughts.

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  2. I always forget what a quiet affair the resurrection was. We don't know exactly what went on, but it seems to me that to some degree He simply sat up, pushed the sheets off Him, stood and folded them, and stepped out of the tomb to a quiet, April morning outside Jerusalem. There were no journalists or cameras outside waiting to report it and the message that the even occurred is still only beginning to be told in all places. Thanks Amy.

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