Earlier this week, I went home for lunch like I always do. While there, I saw my Mom was calling. I picked up the phone and she let me know that she had bad news. My Uncle had committed suicide. What do you even do with information like that? Where do you even begin? My mind began swirling going in one direction to another to another. Yet, even though I couldn’t formulate the words with my mouth at the time, still in the back of my mind there was something like a glimmer of peace. Even though my thoughts bounced around from my pain, to the pain his young daughters must have been feeling, or that of his parents, my grandparents, somehow there was something else very much present. It felt very much like the eye surrounded by a storm.
How could that ever have been? It is definitely not because I am such a great man with such a great faith. I can tell you with certainty that if it were solely up to me, I would’ve been lost and confused. My own mind was being tossed around as if in a twister. No, rather this glimmer of peace came from somewhere else. It came externally. It did not mean that I was not hurting, or that I did not have questions, but it is as if someone had took hold of me and anchored me down even though I still felt as if I were being thrown about.
What, though, could ever hope to anchor someone in the midst of something so bad? The answer to that is Jesus. And Jesus alone. You see, way back when, and throughout all of my life, people, other Christians, have told me about him and his story. And although at that moment I could not think about everything I had learned about Jesus, I remembered that hymn I was once taught. I Am Jesus’ Little Lamb, especially the line, “even calls me by my name.” In spite of my own struggles, the Spirit helped me remember that line. And he comforted me with the fact that yes, he does know my uncle's name. Just as he knows mine, and my family's name, and all of us who are hurting. Just as he knows your name, something you can remember when you’re hurting next time too.
But, there is no way I would’ve ever remembered something so comforting if I had never been taught. I would have never figured that out by myself. I would’ve only been lost in my own pain with nothing to anchor me down. Someone had to tell me.
Which leads us to our lesson. Meanwhile a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was a learned man, with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures. 25 He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with great fervor and taught about Jesus accurately, though he knew only the baptism of John. 26 He began to speak boldly in the synagogue.
Apollos had learned a great deal about God. He knew these teachings all the way up until John the Baptist. And, having been convinced of them by the Holy Spirit, he taught others about all these wonderful truths so that they too might be able to have what he had. While he was speaking, a certain couple heard him. They were named Priscilla and Aquila. And they realized that although Apollos knew much about God, he still had not heard the best part.
Rather than call him out in front of all the people, they invited him to their home. There, instead of berating him for his ignorance, they more fully explained what had happened. Namely, that God’s story had not stopped with John the Baptist. Rather, there was another, yes, even the one who was promised. The Messiah, the Anointed One, God’s chosen servant and God’s own Son, Jesus. The one he had promised would come to save his people Israel. They also would have taught that not only had this Jesus come, but he had fulfilled all of his Father’s will. He lived a perfect life in our place, always obedient. He taught others about himself and the salvation he would bring. He instituted the sacraments of baptism and Holy Communion that we might have physical and visible evidence of his love on top of what he would leave us in the Scriptures. And then, greatest of all, this Jesus gave up his life for us, only to raise from the dead to prove that his sacrifice was worthy, and to forge a new path of life after death. Eternal life.
There, this husband and wife team taught Apollos all about the Christ, both so that he may know his Savior, and that he might go out and tell others all about him too. Which, if you follow Apollos in the bible, you will see that he served faithfully in this capacity.
And this again, all because someone took the time to tell him about Jesus. How many other Apollos’ are out there? People who do not yet know about Jesus, but could eventually be taught so that they might go out and teach others? How many others are experiencing the trauma of death, yet are not anchored down with the knowledge of Jesus? How will these people ever learn about him?
They will learn by other Priscilla’s and Aquila’s. They will learn because someone who already has the knowledge of Jesus will teach them. They will learn because of people like you. But, if you don’t, they may not ever learn. You may be the one person who ever gets the opportunity to teach them. God may have put you in this position right now all so that this person may be able to join him in heaven someday.
And, you’re thinking to yourself right, but what happens if I haven’t taken every opportunity? This is a time then to put your hope and faith in God. And to make use of the opportunities he will give. He has filled your own life with people who do not yet know him. Go tell them. Even if you only have the most basic knowledge of the bible, that Jesus died and that Jesus rose, roll with it. That is more than enough for the Spirit to work with.
Which, is also one of the benefits of being a part of the Church. If that is all you can teach the person for the moment, which any 3-year-old believer can do, that’s just fine! Because God has granted the Church faithful teachers like Priscilla and Aquila who can teach others about the deeper parts of God’s Word, so that they might be anchored even more strongly to him. Thank God for them! Thank God for faithful servants like them who help you bring up your children in the training and instruction of the Lord. Thank God for your council members and your pastors and your elders. Thank God for all those who teach our children and who teach us.
Because when it gets down to it, when God uses life to refocus us, we see truly what it’s all about. That Jesus is the only thing that stands between us and being torn apart by the nastiness and evils of this world. By yes, even death itself. And with him there, there’s no way any of them are getting at us. The winds may howl, the storms may blow, but to him we are anchored, and his chains aren’t breaking. Whatever storm comes your way, you are anchored to him, to eternal life, securely. Amen.