God’s Word and God’s Word
After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the Scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken. (John 2:22)
Hindsight is always twenty-twenty, is it not? As they recalled their Master’s words, the disciples were finally ready to believe the Scriptures and what Jesus had spoken to them. While Jesus had plainly told them what was going to happen, they had not grasped it–they simply needed the light of the resurrection to point them to the truth of it all. The disciples were able to understand the meaning of what Christ did as they reflected upon the Scriptures. God’s Word and God’s work go hand in hand.
“If you wish to know God, you must know his Word. If you wish to perceive His power, you must see how He works by his Word. If you wish to know His purpose before it comes to pass, you can only discover it by His Word.” C.H. Spurgeon)
In the book of Luke we find Jesus chiding the disciples for their lack of understanding:
He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself. (Luke 24:25-27)
Unbeknownst to them at that time, the crown always comes by way of the cross. We would do well to remember that in our own lives as well. Paul tells us:
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)
Considering the harsh travails Paul endured, it is amazing that he could deem them “light and momentary,” yet Paul’s fixed vision of the goal kept his mind in proper perspective. While the torture he endured was supremely difficult, it was nothing in comparison to the glory that he would later receive. We might easily dismiss this if he had not written a considerable amount about what he suffered for the sake of Christ:
Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn?(2 Corinthians 11:23-29)
Despite all of this, we are told in Acts how Paul continued to preach God’s good news, encouraging and strengthening new Christians!
They preached the good news in that city and won a large number of disciples. Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. (Acts 14:21-22)
Take It to Heart
“Christians shouldn’t be surprised when, in seeking to do God’s will, we find ourselves trapped in painful, frightening, difficult, or impossible situations. Life is hard–especially for Christians.” (Robert J. Morgan)
“Never shall you come into such a position that Christ cannot aid you. No pinch shall ever arrive in your spiritual affairs in which Jesus Christ shall not be equal to the emergency, for your history has all been foreknown and provided for in Jesus … ‘My grace is sufficient for thee.’”(C. H. Spurgeon)