Daily Walk , Special Features

The Epic Continues: Part 7

The Epic Continues. 

How the forces of darkness must have shuddered when they heard the news that Jesus had risen from the dead! Jesus’ murder–what they must have seen as a job well done—had completely backfired.

They had lost their hold on humanity— Jesus had broken the curse of sin and death. Almost immediately, their mission switched from holding people captive to preventing them from believing in Jesus and becoming free.

The disciples must have felt a different kind of shock that Sunday morning when Jesus showed up in their midst. A dead Man— now very much alive–stood before them.

All that Jesus had said and taught was true. He was the Messiah, the Rescuer of the world, God Himself. And they might've had a sneaking suspicion that their lives were about to get even more mind-boggling.

And what must that Sunday morning have been like for Jesus-the God who for so long had been misunderstood, who for centuries watched His captive people struggle under a curse they couldn’t break, who had watched the forces of darkness deceive His people and hold them captive.

After all those long years, He had accomplished the greatest rescue mission of all! The curse was broken! Now the mission began to spread the news to the world.

Jesus, the God of closeness, told His confused disciples that He would have to leave them once again to go to His Father. But He promised that His leaving was actually a good thing — that He would be with them in an even closer way. So 40 days after His resurrection, Jesus’ followers watched as He ascended back into Heaven.

A few days later, while Jesus’ disciples were gathered together in Jerusalem, the sound of a violent wind blew through the group, and what looked like tongues of fire came and settled on them. The Holy Spirit had come- God Himself-to live inside of them.

How the forces of darkness must have balked as they watched God actually move in to live in His followers. Their situation was getting even worse.

Jesus had told His disciples that the Holy Spirit would guide them, empower them, and show them the unseen realities and mysteries of His Kingdom. And He had challenged them to follow Him through His Spirit and spread His good news to all the world.

They began in Jerusalem, and as they shared the good news of God’s Great Rescue, many people decided to follow Jesus. The Holy Spirit moved into even new people, restoring their connection to God. God’s Kingdom was growing on earth.

But God wanted people from the entire world to enter into a relationship with Him. So He allowed a band of followers to face intense opposition in Jerusalem, which forced them to spread out from the into distant places and tell His good news. Peter, John, and others carried out Jesus’ mandate, starting churches, leading churches, and writing letters of encouragement to fellow believers.

God had special plans for one of the fiercest persecutors—a man named Paul. Paul was a very unate well-educated Jew. And while he was on his way to arrest Jesus-followers—as he thought it was his duty as a devout Jew to do— Jesus stepped into his life and blindingly introduced Himself.

Jesus unveiled Paul’s eyes to help him see that He was the fulfillment of the truth that Paul loved and allowed so zealously. From that point on in his life, Paul redirected all of his energy and zeal into telling people about Jesus, His great love, and His great sacrifice. He helped people understand the new connection to God through the Holy Spirit—that as they followed the Holy Spirit, He would guide them to the ways of life.

Through three missionary journeys, Paul helped plant churches from Galatia to Rome, teaching people how to walk with God. People across the globe were being set free. Paul was arrested twice, which might’ve looked like a victory for the kingdom of darkness. 

But during his imprisonment, Paul wrote letters of encouragement and instruction to several churches and people, letters that make up much of our New Testament. When Paul went to be with the God he loved so much, the next generation of believers continued to tell the good news of God’s deep love.

And to this day, God-followers have continued to spread the good news of God's Great Rescue.

Much to the disgust of the powers of darkness who still oppose the spread of God’s freedom, countless people throughout history have been set free. And we all wait with eager expectation for the day when Jesus returns to earth, destroys evil for all time, brings His Kingdom in full to earth, and takes us to live with Him forever. He will be with us and in us, and we will be with Him and in Him —for all eternity.

Just as the God of closeness has always meant it to be.

***
©2024, Walk Thru the Bible

Read Part 6 here!

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