The Lifting Hand of Christ

The other night, I read Acts 18 in preparation for a gospel doctrine class (which, by the way, was never taught... but that's another story) and I had a big a-ha.  Before we get to that, though, I just want to share with you how much of a love affair I am having with the writings of and about Paul right now.  Really and truly.  You will not regret reading the book of Hebrews,* I promise.

Anyway, in Acts 18, Paul has a real dilemma.  You see, he had been travelling for a long time preaching in lots and lots of different places.  He had some major successes in his travels, but when he came to Corinth he had a very hard time preaching in the synagogues.  I can only imagine that such lack of success was disheartening to Paul and stretched thin his eagerness to proselyte. 

Just at this critical juncture, Christ came to Paul in a vision.  Essentially, Christ said to Paul:  Be not afraid.  Speak the truth.  Do not quiet yourself for the unbelieving.  I am with you.  These are my people.

It occurred to me what powerful words these are; not just to Paul, not just to missionaries, but to all of us.  Paul, after seeing this vision of his good friend the Lord, was strengthened and stayed in Corinth for a year and a half, preaching with power and baptizing many. 

To missionaries, I think the Lord has a message in this passage for you:  when you get tired of 'no's and of broken promises by investigators, trust that the Lord Jesus Christ is with you, ready to strengthen you.  Don't fear.  Remember that He has brought you forth to these people because they are His people.  It is your job to help them remember that fact.

To us, I think Christ has a similar message... one of empowerment.  In this passage, we are blessed to be witnesses of the lifting hand of Christ.  When we are downtrodden, Christ is eager to lift us.  When we worry or wonder or feel less than adequate, Christ rushes to our side to succor.  When we hesitate, He does not. 

It never ceases to amaze me how anxious our Godhead is to flee to our aid.  They live!  Indeed, They live for us, for our safety, contentment and joy. 

But do we live for them?


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