Please note that this post is the third in a series titled “A Fearful Bride“.
There is a common saying that “action speaks louder than words”. The things that concern us the most and with which we involve ourselves tell a lot about who we really are and what we really believe. Any Christian who says that Jesus has given us hope; hope that goes before and beyond physical death has spoken truth. However, how each saint runs his/her life gives a better picture of what he/she believes. Never think otherwise, the world is watching and God knows our hearts.
Recently, I met a man who I could (politely) brand agnostic (he sort of believed that there is God, but that the true God is still mysterious, not known). He had serious doubts about the hope that the Christians around him shared. He could not reconcile how Christians could believe that “…to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philipians 1:21) and yet still spend so much effort accumulating as much wealth as possible in this world.
In addition, he was disturbed by how most Christians he knew spent significant time praying against death (nearly a daily burden) when they believed at the same time that even death is tamed to take a believer to a more rewarding realm. To him, after prolonged periods of noticing such uniform trends, he was convinced that even the Christians believed that their beliefs were a “sham”.
I had quite a talk with him that day, but something sticks out clearly: “the way we live our lives is a more truthful test of what we believe.” Believers, beware! The world is watching and beyond that, the Heavenly Father knows our hearts through and through.
I cannot deny his claims that some believers work nearly tirelessly to store up wealth for themselves and that others live in perpetual fear of death because, I have noticed the same among a good number of believers on a personal note.
Where We Missed It
Knowing Lord Jesus and believing His Word goes beyond just mental assent (mental agreement/head knowledge). [Kindly read “In God We Trust” which gives real life examples of people who grew to believe God’s Word as ultimate]. There is a process to living by the faith of the Son of God and no man or woman can take you through it, no matter how skilled he or she may be. The best they can do is to give you “a ground breaking revelation of Jesus” that leaves you detached from anything and anyone else and consumed with Jesus alone.
This was exactly the experience of the first Apostles. They had met the Master in an earthquaking way as recorded in Acts 2 and they were lost in allegiance to Him alone. With the stunning revelation of Jesus, Paul abandoned all of the life he used to know and set sail for the depth of the riches of God in Christ, no looking back. The cares of this world were just scratches of wear and tear and death was just another tamed servant of his Master.
John the beloved could not stop talking about what he had heard and seen of the Master (1 John 1:1-2). His electrifying experiences with Lord Jesus increased by the day, even in the face of harshness of persecution. To him, “the world was passing away with all its lusts/desires/cares/burdens, but the one who does the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:17).
But how did we get here were the prince becomes the pauper? Religion. People are running about with zeal for religious activities, some inspired by themselves or by some (maybe) well meaning leader, but all the while, they have not met Jesus (does this sound weird?).
If you have met Jesus, I am not talking about the “baby in a manger” that many sing about at Christmas, neither am I talking about “the man who walked Galilee, healed the sick, raised the dead and cast out devils”. I am talking about the Jesus who is raised and glorified, sitting at the right hand of God with immeasurable Glory and Power. The Jesus who rules heaven and earth and all principlities and powers, with hell, death and satan under his feet.
This is the Jesus who appeared to Saul on his way to Damascus. It was the same Jesus that empowered the 120 with Holy Spirit as recorded in Acts 2. It was the same Jesus Whose Glory John saw while he was on exile on the Island of Patmos. It took special strength from Jesus Himself for John to stand in His Presence. This is the Jesus I am talking about.
There is something that happens when you meet Him. Everything else becomes a shadow in His Light. You know that you have met the Life and that death has no power before Him. You just know that He is the “Real Deal” and you know that you can be like Him.
What Lord Jesus Has Said
When the Messiah walked this earth, He knew one thing for sure: no one, not even death had power over Him. He said this to the people (John 10:17-18) and told same to Pilate (John 19:10-11). This was not arrogance. Only the Father’s Will had power over Jesus and he submitted Himself completely to that Will. For as long as He had the Father’s Work, nothing could interfere. Lord Jesus had the most powerful experience any man on this earth could have with God in this age of corruption. He lived the Life and He was the Life.
He stressed to his disciples and the people that He would defeat death, and He did (do you really believe this?). When He arose, He stressed the same to them. He had given a devastating blow to that beast called death, and from that blow, it with would never recover.
When the Lord appeared to John in mighty revelation on the Island of Patmos, He stressed the same to Him:
“…And He put his right hand on me, saying, Have no fear; I am the first and the last and the Living one; And I was dead, and see, I am living for ever, and I have the keys of death and of Hell”. (Revelation 1:17-18, BBE).
...And I Have The Keys of Death…
When Lord Jesus spoke about having the keys of death and hell, John would have understood clearly. The Master he encountered had the access, power, and authority (keys) to summon and unleash all the terrors of death and hell and the access to tame them to inflict no harm, as well as to reverse the effects of their activities. Talk about Power!
All of Heaven and earth, death and hell obeys His bidding. At His call, hell and death will set free everyone they have ever taken captive and He himself will Judge everyone (including death and hell) (Revelation 20:13-14).
He has broken the chains and has given us His Life, to live in unity and love of Him. Live in His Victory.
Are you amazed at this Jesus?