Bible Top 1000



Power To The People Of God...
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Is any problem you have more difficult than the Resurrection? There was, you know, a resurrection. Spears and nails, crosses and thorny crowns guaranteed it. And the most methodical, brutal, inhumane government in the world declared it was so. Then, with an amazing inward fear, they put the body of a teacher who claimed to be God into a tomb carved out of the unyielding rock. A stone door was fixed and, to add a touch of thoroughness verging on the ridiculous, they posted soldiers to watch this drama of a dead man sealed in a tomb of rock.

The body was as dead as the stone shelf on, which it lay. The spirit had returned to God. “Into thy hands I commend my spirit,” Jesus said (Luke 23:46).

At that moment there was no power in the body. The power was above the body. And it was as Paul says, “Above all principality [Rome included], and power, and might, and dominion, and every name [Caesar included] that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come …” (Eph. 1:21).

Nothing can resist power like that. And nothing did.

The stone rolled back, the grave clothes unwound, the sleeping cells of Jesus’ body, the cytoplasm, the protoplasm, and the nuclei all felt it. The coronation of the king of the universe could not be disputed. God raised the body of Jesus from the dead, making a mockery of all earthly powers. Shame-faced death stood helplessly by, while the king of kings rode off in triumph. So great was the power of God that when Christ’s spirit was ascending to the Father, the reverberations caused an earthquake, graves were opened, and those who were in them were strangely stirred with life. After the resurrection, they came out of the graves and into the city and were seen by many (Matt. 27:52–53).

Power without limit—infinite. And, amazingly…power that can come to us. . And what's the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in heavenly places (Eph. 1:19–20).

The most amazing part of this whole story is the phrase “to us-ward.” In looking at history from before time to the time when time will be no more, Paul has seen the purpose of God’s power. It's to do for us what he did for Christ. He raised Jesus. He will raise us. He made a mockery of all the combined powers of politics, personality, purse, and persecution. Nothing can withstand that power. It's true that death is still our enemy, unconquered—but it will indeed be destroyed. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. “Death is swallowed up in victory” (1 Cor. 15:54).

Not long ago, I stood at the empty tomb of Christ in Jerusalem. (I know there are two places that claim to be the authentic tomb of Christ. No matter, they are both empty.) Standing in that empty tomb, I thought, “Someday the tomb in which I shall be buried shall be opened. The dark, damp earth that walled in my decaying body will be flooded with light. The power of the resurrection shall have come.”

But I don't wait until then. The other enemies I face until that time must also bow to the power of God. I shouldn't be surprised when miracles happen. I should instead be surprised if they don't happen.

Not long ago, as I attended an international convention, I was, stopped by a woman, I didn't know. “You're Maurice Berquist,” she said.

“Yes.”

“I read your book 'The Miracle and Power of Blessing' and enjoyed it, so I read it to my brother.”

I wanted to ask why she had read it to him instead of letting him read it himself, but I simply listened.

“My brother,” she said, “was blind.”

“Was blind?” I asked, emphasizing the word was.

“As I read to him the book about Psalm 103, God suddenly restored his sight. He now has 20–30 vision.”

Why, am I surprised by this? Why do we find it difficult to believe? This same power that raised Jesus from death is to us-ward.

No wonder Paul prayed that our eyes would be opened so that we could see the extent of the power of God at work in our lives, our communities, and our homes. So much of our worship is a pious repetition of static truth instead of a celebration of the present power of God. If our ideas, our theology, and our doctrines were to suddenly come to life, we would suspect God of unfair invasion. If our theological gingerbread men were suddenly to come to life and run down the street, we would chase them, tie them, and put them back in the worship folders where they belong. Vitality is frightening. One day I watched a little child sitting on the mechanical horse in front of the supermarket. The horse was cold and still, innocent of life as a fireplug. The child had an active imagination and was bouncing up and down in the saddle, making believe that the animal was real and that he was the Lone Ranger.

A stranger coming by dropped a quarter in the appropriate slot. The horse started to move, pitching forward and backward. The child, half-frightened and half-pleased, held the reins tightly. “He’s alive, he’s alive,” he cried.

The “parking lot” parable, is needed by the church. When someone pays the price, things begin to happen. Ancient creeds no longer have to be defended or argued. If they were ever true, they are true today. If they were not true, their falsehood becomes obvious. They can be discarded.

Do we need an infusion of that kind of power? What a waste of paper to write such a question! What a waste of energy to read it!

Our weary routines of trying to do God’s work with the power of unspiritual people leaves us with burn out, stress, contention, and flimsy explanations. Oh, we talk about it, but as one observer put it, “When all is said and done, more is said than done.”

Good news—the Resurrection power is available. It's promised. And Paul instructs the Ephesians (and us) in the use of it.




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