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Summary: : God demonstrated resurrection power to His disciples but their immediate response did not reproduce His power in them. It was only when they followed in obedience that they too received that power. God is still in the miracle working business today.

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I'm having amnesia and déjà vu at the same time. I think I've forgotten this before.

A Stormy Transformation

Text: John 20 & Acts 4; Luke 16

A man named Carl and his wife were ready to get a divorce. They had each had affairs and had completely destroyed their trust in one another. Carl sincerely wanted to reconcile, but every attempt failed, and he and his wife just created more distance between themselves. She drove him away with her anger; he drove her away with his jealousy.

During this time he received an email advertisement with the subject line: "Revitalize Your Marriage." He was interested, so he clicked on it. It was an advertisement for Viagra. He laughed when he told me this, saying, "The last thing my marriage needed was for me to start taking Viagra!" He and his wife also saw marriage counselors, together and separately. In a private session, his counselor told him that he should start making plans to "begin a new chapter in his life as a single father."

Carl's wife had scheduled an appointment with an attorney on a Monday morning. As a last ditch effort, she talked Carl into going to his parent's new church. Desperate for anything, he agreed. Of all the subjects a pastor could preach on, his topic that morning was "How to Revitalize Your Marriage." That morning, when the pastor gave the invitation, Carl and his wife gave their lives to Jesus, and Jesus gave their marriage new life.

From Laugh & Learn by Jim Hammond [laughnlearn@vvchristianchurch.net]

God miraculously resurrected what was dead!

Focus: God demonstrated resurrection power to His disciples but their immediate response did not reproduce His power in them. It was only when they followed in obedience that they too received that power. God is still in the miracle working business today. How do I know that? Just from what Jesus said in Jn 14:12-14

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. 13 And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.

The impact of the resurrection is where my thoughts have been this week. I have been questioning “what they (the disciples) were doing and thinking during the time Jesus firsts appeared to them after the resurrection and the time the Holy Spirit came and endued them with power from on high in Acts 2.

I tried to think what I would be doing if the Roman Army and the Jewish leaders were after me. That’s like the whole world coming down on you. Certainly there was some moral support, some comradely, and as Jesus appeared to them there was hope for the future but He kept leaving them alone. You read the accounts of His appearing and He’s there and then He’s gone. I think they felt excitement but it was a stormy excitement. I also think the uncertainty of life must have taken over every time Jesus left. Every time we read of His appearing to the disciples, they’re still hiding.

What really puzzled me this time was after he breathed on them and gave the Holy Spirit according John 20, they all just decide to go back to their old jobs. I can’t say how many times I’ve read that but when I read it this week I said to myself, self, wait a minute, they just received the Holy Spirit! What’s going on here? They just went back to fishing.

Of course we know the other side of this story. But, to get the impact and the application we need to put our minds on their side of history. We can see how God was working to get into their hearts and minds in a manner that would be permanent and life changing. But we have to let God help us with what it means to be on the south side of this life changing event so that we can see what it takes to walk in victory.

There decision to fishing in John 21 tells me that they believe Jesus has life changing power, they believe in Jesus, but not enough to follow Him in obedience. At this point, in their concept of their future, there is nothing for them but to just go back to fishing.

Now, in a few months Peter and John, will stand before the Jewish counsel and boldly defy the very ones who put Jesus on the cross. Think about this! Within a few months they will move from fear, from dread of future events, from cowardice to show their face in public to death defying boldness preaching the Gospel no matter what the Jews want. That’s what happens from John 20 to Acts 4. There’s something powerful and miraculous taking place because in Acts 4, John and Peter boldly stand with enthusiasm before men who hold the power to have them literally put to death. There they emphatically state that nothing will stop them from speaking of what they had seen and heard.

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