Summary: Seeing the Unseen Christ allows us to delight in introducing others to Jesus
Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area I got to see both the Giants and Niners play from time to time. Because of that I was in the park when Willie Mays stroked homers to right-center field at Candlestick. Nothing gave me greater joy than watching Montana put together a last minute drive and hit Solomon for a TD or to watch the like of Ronnie Lott perform his magic on the field.
Most of us have seen such feats in documentaries and the like. But there is something about “being there” that makes it more real. Those of you who are old enough, do you remember what you were doing November 22, 1963? What about Sunday December 7, 1941? Those were days that will live forever in the minds of Americans who were alive then. And yet, even living through them was not the same as being present and watching that motorcade move through Dallas or being on a ship in Pearl Harbor.
Over this 50-Day Spiritual Adventure we’ve been asking the Lord to open our spiritual eyes so that we might see his real presence among us as we gather in His name. We’ve not wanted to settle for a second-hand experience but we’ve wanted to see Him ourselves; to be captured by His beauty and power; his words and acts of love. When this type of close encounter occurs we are changed. Our worship is changed. The way we relate to others is changed. The way we choose to live our life is changed. The way we read His word and communicate with Him is changed. Nothing remains the same when Jesus enters our life.
In Acts 4 we see what this change does to two disciples who have followed Jesus for three years. They have watched Him be arrested and executed. One had abandoned Him in the garden. Later he stood by the cross and agreed to watch after Jesus’ mother. The other tried to stand up for Jesus but ended up denying he even knew him. Both had seen Jesus resurrected, raised from the dead, alive again. Both had been in a room with some 120 others who experienced a sense of power that had to be from God. Both had been changed wildly by this Jesus who they walked alongside, talked and ate with and who called them to be his followers.
Their sharing what they had seen and experienced was not optional. It was absolutely essential. Yes there was pressure to keep quite. Yeah they might have been tempted to “not rock the boat”. But the wonderful things that Jesus had done had to be told. It was unthinkable to not share the wonderful news that the Messiah, the one whom the Jewish people had been looking forward to every Passover was here and bring salvation to His people. They knew that what they had seen needed to be told to others otherwise they would die.
What they did wasn’t natural but supernatural. You remember what they were like before Easter. Here seven weeks later the one who denies Jesus is preaching in the same streets, probably close to the same place they were hiding that Easter evening. Perhaps you read this and say, “Oh well that’s easy for them.” Or “I wish I could have that type of effect.” But the fact is people don’t convince people to turn to Jesus. Let me set your mind at ease about something. Luis Palau and Billy Graham have never led anyone to Jesus. People have come to believe in Jesus Christ because of the Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit has seen fit to use people like Dr. Graham and Luis Palau. But the Spirit also chooses to use us when we’re open to Jesus, when we are willing to share what we’ve experienced.