Summary: When you need help now Jesus is your source of renewal and healing.
“Living in a Post-Easter World: When You Need Help – Now!”
Acts 9:36-43; Rev. 7:9-17
WE CAN ONLY IMAGINE! Just what will heaven be like? The Bible gives us some clues but even the clues don’t always paint a clear picture. We can only imagine. As I read the Biblical passages and think about heaven, I’m convinced that what heaven looks like, its furnishings and terrain are not the main issue; the issue is God dwelling with His people – it’s Jesus being the center of all attention. We can only imagine. That’s why Paul called it all a mystery and wrote (1 Cor. 2:9), “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.” We can only imagine.
SO IMAGINE A PLACE, AN ENVIRONMENT where: there is no sickness – no cancer, no bad hearts, no dementia, no deafness, no poor eyesight, no wheelchairs or walkers; where there is no pain, no scars, no multiple sclerosis or muscular dystrophy, no Parkinson, no diabetes, no arthritis; where there is no sadness, no sorrow; where there are no broken relationships, no divorce, no separation, no hurt feelings, no desire for revenge, no misunderstandings, no critical spirits; where there is no crime, no war, no bombs, no acts of terrorism, no refugee camps, no ethnic cleansings; where there are no fires, famines, floods, earthquakes, tsunamis; where there is no injustice, no prejudice, no favoritism; where there is no darkness, no death, no tears. We can only imagine.
Imagine a room, a place, an environment prepared just for you. Imagine standing, then kneeling in the presence of Jesus. Imagine: “They are before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in is temple; and he who sits on the throne will spread his tent over them. Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat upon them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” (Rev. 7:15-17) Imagine – this is your future. We are on the way to a greater day.
BUT WE ARE NOT THERE. WE ARE STILL HERE – here where, most days, this vision of heaven seems like a pipe dream; here where, so often, we can’t wait until then; here, where we need help – now! Not unlike those we read about in Acts 9. There was a major need in Joppa. Dear Tabitha – Dorcas – was the instigator, the leader, the force behind a vital ministry to the poor. The widows and the rest of the poor were dependent on her for clothing to wear and other essentials. But she died – all of a sudden, with little warning, way too early in life. The people needed help – now! What to do? Where to turn? Someone mentioned that Peter was in nearby Lydda. Peter – the leader of the followers of Jesus. Peter – the preacher. Peter – the one who was known to heal the ill and broken. So they sent two men to Peter who simply said, with urgency in their voice, “Please come at once.” Because Peter was nearby there was an air of expectation that something could be done. The Joppans were not concerned with the theology of healing or death, nor were they interested in talking about a better world that is to come. They were interested in action now; they expected Peter – or perhaps more to the point, Peter’s God – could help now. So they sent for Peter.
These Joppans knew that THINGS WERE DIFFERENT SINCE JESUS WALKED OUT OF HIS TOMB. THERE WAS A NEW POWER AT LOOSE IN THE WORLD. They had heard what Peter had done in the name of Jesus. Someone had said that the name of Jesus had the same life-giving power as the Creator who breathed the world into existence. The power and life of God, in Jesus, was present in their post-Easter world. They knew that with Peter the name of Jesus made a difference.
Perhaps they had heard of that day when Peter and John were heading into the Temple in Jerusalem – that day when a man crippled from birth was just starting his daily begging. He saw Peter and John and asked them for money. As Luke records it in Acts 3, “Then Peter said, ‘Look at us!’ So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them. Then Peter said, ‘Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.’” And the man was instantly whole. In the name of Jesus everything changed. So the Joppans expected that Peter would know what to do, that the name of Jesus could help.