Kingdom Principle: I. A.M. witness of the great I AM
|Acts 5:27-32||Psalm 150||Revelation 1:4-8||John 20:19-31|
If someone told you they saw bigfoot… would you believe them? Or would you ask for proof. The same desire of proof is true for many when they believe in the resurrection. The point of this post is for you to discover that you are the proof of the resurrection. But before we can prove anything we must address the footprints that have been left behind. I’m not sure who has the bigger feet, (I presume bigfoot) but I know that Jesus leaves behind bigger shoes to fill… When my kids were little it was fun for them to put on my shoes and try to walk around the house. This week we find the disciples gathering together to figure out what and how to do to go forward, knowing that they have very big shoes to fill. If we are to understand that the Disciples believed in the resurrection, then they knew what they had to do… carry on the message that Jesus entrusted to them. But they also knew they needed to wait until the Holy Spirit as promised by Jesus was given. (This promise began with the Old Testament prophets – Joel 2:28-32, Isaiah 44:3-5, Ezekiel 36:26-27, Zechariah 12:10 and was picked up by John the Baptist Luke 3:16, John 1:33) When my kids walked in my shoes it was slow, awkward and they often fell if they tried to move fast. The disciple had the very same problem and it was way I believe they were waiting behind the locked doors. It was not until the disciples were filled with the power of the Holy Spirit – that the shoes of Jesus were no longer too BIG for them to wear. By the time we see them in Acts 5 as opposed to John 20 – they move from doubt & fear and in Peter’s state questioning forgiveness, to being called before the Sanhedrin to give account for being witnesses for the Resurrection of Jesus.
The new reality for the disciples (and us) is that the resurrection is complete in those who have believed in Jesus Christ’s triumph over the grave for he has given unto them the power of the Holy Spirit – (Acts 2:33, Romans 8:9-11). Revelation 1 makes it clear that by the way of Jesus we are to be the very expression of the Kingdom and to serve as priests of His Holy Nation. (Peter witnesses to this truth in 1 Peter 1:3-2:12) Over the next 7 weeks we will make our way to Pentecost – there the very Spirit that was breathed upon the disciples will be given to the nations. In this season the lectionary will shift to offer us insights from Revelation, the Gospel of John and the book of Acts as opposed to the typical format of the Psalm, OT passage and the Gospel of Luke as in the rest of the Year C format. I believe that this deviation is to reinforce the call for us to be witnesses of the resurrection and the revelation of the Spirit. Luke began his gospel clearly based on the eye-witnesses (Luke 1:2) and develops the theme throughout the books of Acts. The Acts of the Apostles tell us the story of their witness as the early church was finding its way forward. John begins his gospel based on the witness of John the Baptist (John 1:6-8) and in Revelation he gives us a glimpse into sharing what he witnesses beyond his imagination. This week in Acts we see Peter standing against the authorities who challenge his authority and calls the disciples to cease and desist. The Revelation text this week gives witness to the Trinity of God and in doing so highlighted Jesus as the faithful witness…
It is time for each of us to be re-instated, commissioned and called into action. Whether you are a long way off or missed only the last “report” – Now is the time… Jesus reveals to the disciples while they remain behind locked doors, He overcomes their fears and doubts, calls them back to forgiveness and breathes the Holy Spirit on them. By the Power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus gives to the disciples the authority needed to fill his shoes… and as such they are being sent out. By Acts 5 we see that they have obeyed the commission of Jesus and in Acts 7 we see that Stephen is paying the ultimate price for his witness. What can we learn from the text this week so that we too can walk in the shoes of Jesus? (1 John 1:6)
We must know our identity. The question of “Who am I” is at the base of all things – according to Revelation (of the faithful witness of Jesus) we are made to be a kingdom and priests to serve God. Our Identity is to be a people of faith. Second we most know our authority. The question of “What is my impact?” & “What difference can I make?” are questions of authority. Authority is to be found in a plan of hope. As pointed out in Acts 5 Peter clearly established that their authority came from God and it is unto Him alone which they obey. This authority is matched with power when it comes from the Holy Spirit. The Revelation passage makes it clear authority comes from God who was, who is and is to come, the Spirit (the complete and perfect 7 fold spirit) who sits before the throne, and Jesus who is the faithful witness, the first born from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. Finally we must know our motivation. While it is the purpose of love that lays as the foundation of all motivation – this week our motivation is two-fold. First, it is that we may Praise the LORD with every breath of our life. (As in the Psalm & in next week’s Rev. text). Further it is because those who do not know the LORD, even those in the churches whom the Lord longs to redeem (Rev. 2-3 foretells of the message to the 7 churches and highlights what Jesus has against them…) the day is dawning when the Lord will come in the clouds and all will see him and many will mourn for it will be too late. Therefore, the motivation to Praise the Lord and demonstrate his Identity and Authority in our lives is so that by being witness to Jesus, others might come to do the same.
This week we also learn from this text what prevents people from living into their Identity, Authority and Motivation of Jesus by the power of the Spirit. The bases of which is 1. Un-Forgiveness & 2. Fear or Unbelief. We may take time later to unpack this more but it is suffice to say this week that Jesus clearly overcomes what is lacking and offers His Peace to His disciples. Those who have such peace as Peter did, echo’s the same promise to others offering them Life in Jesus. While the Sanhedrin rejected Peter’s words it was yet again another opportunity to testify to the power that is within him.
We are to have our feet firmly planted in the Identity, Authority and Motivation of the great I AM. Being a People of faith, following a plan of hope, with a motivation of love we will bring glory and power to God for ever and ever!