Pastor's Note | Monday, April 1st
No doubt you have heard the expression "You can't see the forest for the trees." I tried to find the origin of this phrase and discovered it is not attributed to a specific person - famous or otherwise. But that seems appropriate because we are all prone to getting so caught up in our day-to-day tasks, the specific demands of our job, and the numerous activities our modern life seems to propel us into that we can easily lose sight of the bigger picture. Let's not allow that to happen, especially over this Resurrection Weekend!
I am so grateful for the teaching series Pastor Curtis led us through entitled not a fan. I am grateful because week after week my consciousness has been lifted from the minute details of work and living enabling me to take a look at things that can only be seen when the eyes of my inner being are lifted to God and I honestly ask "am I being a fan or a fully committed follower?"
That question should also be asked in the context of the resurrection of Jesus - that Jesus was dead and buried, but on the morning of the third day after his execution that burial cave was empty! Jesus was not there, he was raised by the power of God. And what has always amazed me - in fact, has been a crucial point in my belief in the bodily resurrection of Jesus - is how their encounter with the risen Jesus transformed his disciples.
Consider Peter who cowardly denied even knowing Jesus is found in the temple grounds proclaiming "that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ." This Jesus who was so severely beaten that he was hardly recognizable. This Jesus who suffered under a most brutal and humiliating execution. This Jesus who gave up all the power of the One who upholds the entire cosmos by the strength of his word. This Jesus who would appear to have been defeated by death. This Jesus is both Lord (the Hebrew word echoing the name God disclosed to Moses) and Christ (the Greek word for Messiah - God's Anointed One).
How do we explain this transformation in Peter - from coward to bold herald and later to the leader of the most persecuted church in the first century (Rome)? The only viable explanation is that he, as the Bible records, saw the resurrected Jesus, spent time with him, conversed with him, surrendered his will to him, committed his life to him, and was transformed by him.
Transformed in their inner being. As millions... billions of others have been ever since. In every nation. From every walk of life. Well educated and less well educated. Rich and poor. Influential and marginalized. Those who once denied God existed and those who grew up in faith-filled homes.
There's the forest. Don't miss it for the trees.
Jesus is alive! Jesus continues to invite us to follow, trust, surrender to him... and be made new.