Kingdom Principle: My identity is gift from God, rooted in my faith of Christ, brought to life by the power of the Holy Spirit.
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 profess their belief in the resurrection. The point of this post is for you to discover that you are the proof of the resurrection.
I’m not sure who has the bigger feet, (I presume Bigfoot) but I know that Jesus leaves behind big 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 after Easter we find the disciples gathering together to try and figure out what and how to do in order to go forward, knowing that they have very big shoes to fill. The Disciples knew what they had to do, but they were prevented from going forward due to fear and the guilt of disbelief. But just maybe they also knew they needed to wait until the Holy Spirit which was 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. When wearing the big shoes if I would hold their hands and lift them up, they felt like they were running on air. The disciples needed this lift, but it had not come yet therefore this is why 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 Peter’s questioning the availability 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; 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 not just 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…
Our Witness is our Confession. In order for us to walk in shoes of Jesus, we must be filled by the Holy Spirit. In this our confession is “I believe”. This confession is to embrace the work of the cross of Christ that was completed and to believe in the on-going work of the Holy Spirit. Our Confession is as simple as “God, I confess my sin and my need for you!” In response to this, we are met with the power of the Holy Spirit to relieve our pain and free us from a state of bondage. Do you believe?
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.
Through this confession we profess and confess our identity. The question of “Who am I” is at the base of all things. In Revelation 1 we are given our identity. By the witness of the of Jesus; our identity is 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, we may Praise the LORD with every breath of our life. Second, might we might share this love with the rest of the world. (starting with the Church as in Rev. 2-3) Therefore, the motivation to Praise the Lord and demonstrate his Identity and Authority in our lives moves us to being a witness to Jesus, that others might come to do the same.This Identity, Authority, & Motivation lays the foundation to all of life and is developed in us by a tool I call ATHOE.
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.
- Fear or Unbelief
We will 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.
As we confess our sin and need for God, we are overcoming two core obstacles to our Identity as found in Christ. We are moving into a state of forgiveness, that frees us from the internal battle for truth. AS we confess our need for God, we are overcoming the external lie that I have to do “this” on my own. Let us begin our Journey of ATHOE, Ascending to Heaven on Earth, by establishing our Identity as being established as a gift of God.