My Dear Partners in Christ:
As I was preparing a sermon, this one on the Transfiguration, I was struck again how the disciples, this time Peter, James, and John, after being with Jesus and all they experienced, and even now the glory of Jesus’ presence, how could they ever doubt or question anything. Here the very voice of God spoke, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased, listen to Him” (Mt. 17:5). Yet, regrettably they often failed to hear or exhibit any real faith. Even when Jesus is so explicit still they don’t seem to hear him, “the Son of man will be delivered into the hands of men and they will kill Him, and He will be raised on the third day,” (Mt. 17:22).
Clearly these words, and their real meaning do not evoke in the disciples what they should, until it happens. And then in the face of apparent danger they all flee into the night. And Peter, who by all ancient accounts was a large man, will be cowed by a small servant girl, and ends up deny his Lord three times before dawn (Mt. 26:69-74). Of course, it was traumatic, horrific, and mind numbing. And Jesus had prayed, particularly for Peter, that his faith not fail, and that he turn and then strengthen the others (Lk. 22:32). Yet his faith did fail, and it would fall on the faithfulness of a few women, and their love of Jesus, that is used to initiate the restoration of faith and hope in these men.
Yet, I really don’t find it that surprising that Jesus chose these flawed men. It is because they were so much like most of us, just normal. As Paul will write of the early church, “…not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many of noble birth…”(1 Cor. 1:26). Allow me not to complete Paul’s thought; it’s not very complimentary to we who believe. But it is true that “God has made foolish the wisdom of the world” (v20). And few of us have degrees from Harvard or Oxford, are billionaires or power brokers in Washington or Ottawa, or members of some royal family (although that no longer seems as important as it use to be).
What is important, however, and undeniably still true is that God has chosen us precisely because of who we are. We are called to His service, just as were those ordinary fishermen and Galilean peasant to be the vessels of His Spirit. Only then can God do great things. It is not us; in our own strength, our own talents, abilities, or wisdom. And is why He still seeks those especially that will make foolish the wisdom of the world. It is all so that our Lord will be honored. When the “servants” try to take the credit and honor, invariably one finds the Spirit of God abused and no longer present (Oh, I could share many stories of spiritually gifted people that drove the Spirit away by their hubris). When one relies on themselves that is when one stumbles and fails. Without His Spirit we will always be inadequate to any task our Lord calls us to.
Everything that is our faith, all that is “His beloved Son,” does defies ALL the odds. Defies what the world expects or sees as possible. If ever a movement was dead it was out on that lonely hill called Golgotha. Disowned by His own people, abandoned by His closest friends, scourged bloody and near death, and then nailed to that cruel “tree.” If ever hope was crushed. If ever all expectations decimated. If ever all love seemed the darkest it was when He breathed His last. But, and it is a big but, one thing, one incredible, earth shattering event changed it all. Everything was changed one morning, and with the Spirit’s enabling, what Jesus has brought, is anything but dead!
The expectation of the world has been now, for nearly 300 years, that Christianity would ultimate disappear, just fad away. It was seen as irrelevant, out dated, and unnecessary in “this modern new world.” It is anything but that! And if we “ordinary” believers will allow His Spirit to work in us, we will see “even greater things.” Here is the immeasurable love, power that still, and always will, turn lives around, will heal our bodies, provides solace for our souls. It is where death loses its sting, where hope swallows up sorrow. Here is the ultimate victory that should adorns our every existence, and I ask you to please continue to enable us to do all we can to bring this message to every one possible.
With His Spirit it is anything but outdated, obsolete, or dead,
Thomas R. Wyatt
P.S Please do what you can to keep this ministry vibrant, and here for you!