March 28, 2012

How Jesus Patiently Loves, Part I

Many Convincing Proofs


Jesus' public ministry has been growing for about 3 years. The small band of disciples has grown to a large crowd that follows Jesus from place to place. He comes to Jerusalem, greeted by throngs of worshipers. Only a few days later, he is brought to trial and condemned to die the most cursed death in the Roman arsenal of punishment even though he is innocent of any and all wrong-doing. The disciples panic at his betrayal and arrest, scattering in all directions. He is crucified, dies, and is buried in a donated tomb under the guard of Roman soldiers and the seal of the government placed on the stone covering the doorway.

This is not what the disciples expected. Sound familiar? Have you ever had a clear vision where your path would lead as you followed the Lord and found yourself completely stunned when it took an unexpected, disastrous turn?

He rises on the third day. Jesus died and now lives, and that makes all the difference in the world and all of creation. But what about his disciples? They ran away at his arrest, stayed away from his trial, and were conspicuously absent during his crucifixion, death, and burial.

How is the gospel of God's grace in Christ demonstrated by Jesus following his resurrection?

"In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God." (Acts 1:1-3, ESV, emphasis added)

The disciples are trying to cope with the circumstances of Christ's death. His death was a tremendous blow to their faith. They did not expect the circumstances to play out as they did. Then, hearing of his resurrection and even seeing him alive was such a tremendous shock to their system that they could not believe it.

I see here... Jesus' patience with people. And this gives me great hope. Great hope for me and for you. Hope for faith. Hope for perseverance. Hope for restoration. Hope because of God's grace, not because of anything in us or done by us. Our hope and boasting is in God, not in the strength of men. (Hint: men and women, boys and girls have no strength.)

To be continued...

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