One has to wonder if any of these men ever experienced their lives in the same way. Did being hungry or tired or in pain ever have the same meaning as it had before they had met Jesus? I can’t imagine how anything could have looked or felt the same. If you compare what happened after Jesus was murdered, to after Jesus ascended, you already see an astonishing change.
After Jesus’ murder and before the resurrection, the Bible tells us the disciples were together in a locked room “for fear of the Jewish Leaders”.
They knew that if they were found, they’d be the next to be arrested and crucified. They were afraid, but in just a few short days, after the ascension, they were in an upper room, but no longer afraid. Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon them and they became even more changed than before. Each of these men went from fear to fearless and began to proclaim the truth of Jesus as the Messiah. They were ridiculed, beaten, thrown into prison and in due time most of them were murdered as well. And yet, they were excited about sharing the persecution that Jesus had suffered because they wanted more to identify with their Savior.
We have to wonder how did this happen? And the only answer to that is because the transforming power of the Holy Spirit made it happen. Only through him can we hope to reach the potential each of us can reach; and each of us has the potential to be Kings and Queens in God’s Kingdom.
So my question now is, how do we get to this point? How do we come to the point where we are willing to go through suffering for the sake of knowing Jesus better? Dietrich Bonhoeffer came to that place and so did Rachel Scott.
I have to ask myself, “Am I there?”
I’m afraid my answer to myself is no, not yet.
How do I get there?
One day, not too long ago, I was walking with a friend, discussing this very subject. How do we get to the point where we’re so in love with Jesus we, like the apostles, “count it all joy” to suffer like Jesus did?
Jesus himself said we’d be blessed when we are cursed.
When I think of that I wonder if I’ll be able to stand up bravely in the face of death like Rachel did, or walk with purpose toward the gallows knowing that on the other side I will find myself experiencing inexpressible joy like Dietrich did.
My friend and I came to the conclusion that the Lord has promised he would give us the strength we need when we need it. Our job right now is to strengthen our relationship with Jesus now, while the “forest is green” so that in the time of drought, we will have that well of living water within us, giving us the strength we need to end our lives with strength.
So, while my days are quiet, I am seeking the Lord with all my heart and soul. When there is turmoil he will be there with me. I have come to believe that the Lamb’s Book of Life not only has our names written in it, but our whole life story. And so, I will echo what John said at the end of his account of Jesus’ life: the whole world will not be able to contain all the books that will be written.
Thank you, Lord, that we can trust you to provide what we need, when we need it. In Jesus Name, Amen.
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