“But the eleven disciples proceeded to Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had designated. When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some were doubtful. And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.””
Matthew 28:16-20 NASB
Open your mouth
The disciples had a harrowing experience from the trials of Jesus, to His crucifixion, burial and resurrection. Now they are faced with His leaving them to ascend into Heaven. These men and women who had followed Him for so long were about to embark on the work that they were commissioned to do. I am sure some were unsure of what they were going to do, and many may have had doubts about their ability to accomplish all that He said they would.
They saw the miracles that He had performed, the way He controlled Himself and the authority He displayed during His ministry. They had huge sandals to fill. I can imagine Peter, still feeling the shame of denial of his Lord. He was still the rash fisherman, more geared toward doing rather than thinking. What if he failed again.
All the others standing there with the risen Jesus, flawed and all too human, given a task more suited for a God/Man. They had not yet received the gift of the Holy Spirit that Jesus had promised. I don’t even think they could even imagine what that was, or fathom that God the Holy Spirit would be in them.
We, the body of Christ, find ourselves in that same position, as we go out into the world to share the Gospel. We have the advantage of the Holy Spirit and the completed word of God as our guides as we go into our Jerusalem, Judea and the rest of the world. Even with the advantage, the task is daunting.
I will never forget my early ham-handed efforts to share the Gospel. I felt so inadequate for the task, as I stammered and sputtered words and phrases I did not fully understand. As the Lord set about reforming my life from the inside out, the pain led to my weakness, my humility, and my increased dependence. Gone went any facade, as I was stripped of any false piety. I could only tell of what God was doing in me.
He gave me a testimony.
I think of Peter, in that moment, felt he was least of all worthy, by fleshly standards, to speak of the ministry of Jesus. Perhaps he remembered Jesus exhorting him to “feed my sheep”, or perhaps that great moment when he answered correctly when Jesus asked “who do you say I am?” We tend to think more of our failures than our successes. I am sure Peter did the same.
Flash forward to the upper room and the coming of the Holy Spirit.
“But Peter, taking his stand with the eleven, raised his voice and declared to them: “Men of Judea and all you who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you and give heed to my words.”
Acts 2:14 NASB
The fear went away, the doubt was dashed along with the shame, and this once rash man of action opened his mouth. I can almost see the shocked looks from those who knew the old Peter. Here was a man empowered by the Holy Spirit.
God has given us this opportunity to share the Gospel to a world of willing hearts and open ears. For some of us, it will be the first time that we have ever shared the Gospel with anyone. The idea of telling someone of the great Salvation of an invisible God, seems daunting to say the least. But, for the moment, we are living in a world where an invisible virus is locking down the world. I believe hearts are open.
Your testimony is the most powerful tool you have in reaching the lost for the Gospel. Telling others of the joy of having your sins forgiven. We all have sinned. We all carry guilt of things we have done. Telling others of a loving God who forgives those sins and provides the power to resist future sins is an amazing message.
Open your mouth. The Holy Spirit will give you the words and also govern how the message is received. I remember working late night in a group home years ago. I was in the midst of getting a bible degree of sorts from Grace University. I was using the down time to study and my coworker was asking questions.
I sensed the moving of God and began to go into some haphazard rendition of the Romans Road. I struggled with dry mouth and nerves to get out the rote presentation. “Can I just pray to receive Christ now? , she interrupted. God was doing the work, He was bringing the harvest. I just had to be obedient, and in this case, shut my mouth. I had the opportunity to lead my coworker to the Lord.
I was humbled as I understood that God is the One responsible for the harvest.
Open your mouth today. He will give you the words, and the Holy Spirit is already doing the work. Your job is to plant the seed.
THE PRAYER CHAIR IS OPEN! Send me your requests!