Our Faith is not built upon a Great Teacher, although Jesus is that. Our Faith is not built upon a Great Prophet, although Christ is that. Our Faith is not built upon a Miracle Worker, although our Lord certainly is not bound by any Law of Nature. Our Faith is LEGITIMIZED by the FACT that Jesus Christ ROSE from the Dead!
John 20:19-20 NIV78 - …When the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side.
The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. The disciples were not “overjoyed” because they had a pleasant meal, a safe house, or a vision of Jesus. They were overjoyed because the RISEN Christ came into the midst of their fears, behind the locked doors of their despair, and appeared in the fullness of the Power of His Resurrection! It was this message that legitimized their preaching and authorized their mission.
The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is the central doctrine of the Christian Faith, the most important event in Human History, and frankly, it is the most precious truth of my life right now. All of our ministry must have at its core the truth about Resurrection of Jesus Christ. It authenticates the Gospel and allows our Savior to declare Himself as the only way.
John 14:6 AMP - Jesus said to him, “I am the [only] Way [to God] and the [real] Truth and the [real] Life; no one comes to the Father but through Me."
Acts 4:10 & 12 NLT - Let me clearly state to all of you and to all the people of Israel that he was healed by the powerful name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, the man you crucified but whom God raised from the dead… 12 There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.”
“If Jesus rose from the dead, then you have to accept all that he said; if he didn't rise from the dead, then why worry about any of what he said? The issue on which everything hangs is not whether or not you like his teaching but whether or not he rose from the dead.” --Timothy Keller
The whole of our Faith and the entire destiny of Humanity hangs upon this grand miracle: “He is Risen from the dead (Luke 24:6 NLT)!”
John 20:21 VOICE – “I give you the gift of peace. In the same way the Father sent Me, I am now sending you.”
Our Lord Jesus said, “In the same way.” The work is HIS Work, the Love is HIS Love, the Glory is HIS Glory, the Ministry is HIS Ministry; and we must make this our Holy Passion and Mission. This understanding of the ministry is essential for us to be effective because there is a very fine line for the servant of the Lord, between Holy Faith and Vain Conceit; between Godly Passion and Selfish Ambition.
I believe that one of the remedies to stay on the correct side of that line is to recognize that His is the Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory! His is the Honor among the Nations and the Glorious Light of Heaven. He and He alone is Worthy of Praise, and whatever ministry He allows for our participation is by His gracious kindness and benevolent mercy. The Lord Jesus calls us because He wants us to be involved in His Great Mission: the reconciliation of Humanity to the Father and the restoration of all things under His Kingdom’s reign.
Christianity itself is a journey from SELF to CHRIST. The joy of Heaven is the full apprehension of God, the joy of Earth is the pursuit of God. We begin this journey in Self-Interest: I need a Savior; I want eternal life over eternal darkness. However, like children, we must not stay there. We must grow into Christ-Interest: the extension of His Kingdom, the glorification of His Name, the ministry of His Grace to others.
As long as life and ministry are perceived solely from the viewpoint of self-interest, it can never be lived to the fullest, nor will it bear the sweetest of fruit. We are called to see the higher, eternal purposes of God, and in turn share a deep, genuine concern for the needs of others. In so doing, we can then truly reflect His character into a sin-filled world. Therefore,
Dr. Tobey Montgomery