Suggested Reading: Luke 24:36-49
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 1:3
Believing that we serve and have within and among us, a living, resurrected, powerful, present Lord and Savior in Christ Jesus is courageous living. This fact is the bedrock and concrete truth of the Christian faith.
It would have been easy for Jesus to rise from the dead, come out of the tomb, then go directly up to heaven to take his place at the right hand of God without anyone seeing him beforehand. But that was not God’s plan. God ordained that his crucified and risen Son would emerge from that tomb of death and present himself to not only tens, but hundreds of people before ascending into heaven to sit at his right hand. Why? So that there would be witnesses on earth, those who could spread the word and personally testify to what they had seen with their very own eyes. Testify to the fact that Jesus came, stood among them, talked to them, breathed on them, had one last in-the-flesh teaching and ministering session with them, be touched by some; had seen this miracle with their very own eyes. Jesus was not dead but living and breathing, touchable, relatable, brilliant, authentic, and incredibly powerful.
He is presently in heaven, sitting at the right hand of God the Father, interceding for us, but he also comes to us so we can witness to others about this alive, full of life, powerful Savior we have seen and experienced with our own eyes and in our personal life.
I will never forget an occasion some years ago when my husband was experiencing a time of trial during one of our ministries. It was a difficult time in the congregation with many wanting to go in a direction that had not been determined by the Holy Spirit that we needed to be going in. As the battles went on and on, I could see the weariness in my husband and even hear it in his sermons. I knew the weekly struggles, meetings, conversations, back and forth, trying to keep those who were stubborn and being narrow-minded encouraged and on track was draining him spiritually as well as physically and emotionally. I began to pray that the Lord would come and strengthen him in his counseling, conversations, during his meetings, and even his preaching. One particular Sunday following an incredibly difficult week, during the processional at the beginning of the service, I looked up from my hymnal and was startled to see as my husband processed down the aisle, as he always did but walking behind him was a large luminous figure I knew was the Lord Jesus. I was so startled and filled I began to cry tears of joy. Everyone thought I was moved by the opening song. That presence stayed with him the entire service. My husband preached a powerful message that day and prayed with fresh urgency and power, affirming what he firmly believed had been given to us by the Holy Spirit. After the service he had a renewed energy and felt he had been shown a new way to deal with those who were being obstructionists to God’s plan for the congregation. Shortly after we would have the needed breakthrough in ministry. The power and presence of the Lord Jesus is real and greatly to be praised.
The reasons for Jesus showing up on the scene of your life are numerous and yes, often due to your present need or circumstances. Certainly, he comes to comfort you, provide strength, show you answers to problems, impart wisdom, give you hope, lift your worry, quell your anxiety and fear, and bring peace to your circumstances, but more than these: He presents himself as real to you so you can testify of him being real, to others.
When we live the kind of life that testifies and witnesses to others that we serve and have a risen, alive, loving, powerful Savior watching over us, praying for us, walking with us, moving heaven and earth for us, we are also living with conviction and courageously. The power and realness of Jesus cannot be denied when we live it before others. Let’s Pray,
Jesus, you presented yourself alive to many after your suffering, and through many proofs you showed you were alive and real. For over forty days people saw you walking, talking, eating, and heard you speaking about the kingdom of God and were able to share with others what they had witnessed with their own eyes. Today you come to us as well and by many proofs, show us you are alive. You are in heaven but also here with us. May we possess such courageous faith that we live this truth and share this truth which is foundational to our Christian faith. In your name we pray. Amen
Courageous Living: how does thinking about the ways Jesus presents himself alive to you in your life and circumstances encourage you to live and have courageous faith?