Your God is donkey! That’s the insult not so subtly implied by this early piece of anti-Christian graffiti. How can you Christians worship a broken, pathetic man who, as he hung on a cross, was manifestly shown to be impotent? How can you worship a man who was publicly exposed to the worst pain and shame conceivable? You’d be a fool to follow him. You’d be a fool to orbit your life around him.
The book of Acts, which we began studying this week at Knowing God, was written to galvanise disciples in the face of such mockery from a world which saw nothing in the cross of Christ apart from defeat and failure. After he rose from the dead Jesus said to his disciples “you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
- Where the watching world saw nothing but shame in the suffering of the cross, the disciples were to proclaim glory.
- Where the watching world saw nothing but an ignoble death, the disciples were to proclaim the very centre of God’s plan to bring forgiveness to the nations.
- Where the world imagined a cold body buried in a tomb, the disciples were to proclaim a risen and ascended Lord, who continues his mighty salvation plan from his exalted position at the Father’s side.
- Where the world saw the failure of yet another political movement, the disciples were to put the world on notice that everyone of us is hurtling towards the day when Jesus will return as judge.
As the disciples spread this message round the Mediterranean in those early years of Christianity they were accused of turning the world “upside down” through their life and preaching. It’s my prayer that as we meet together week by week in our Knowing God groups that in a small way God would work so that those looking on would have evidence to accuse us of the same thing. Wouldn’t it be great if the depth of friendship in our small groups was so radical that non-Christians were forced to ask about where our unity comes from? Wouldn’t it be great if even when we face the snide remarks about how weak and outdated Christianity none of us are intimidated and knocked off course? Wouldn’t it be great if we were so sure of Jesus’, and therefore our own, final vindication that we were able to live a little more this year for eternity, and a little less for the now?
So let’s pray that this is a great year for us as an evening congregation. If you have not already signed up for a Knowing God group e-mail me, let me know if you prefer Wednesday or Thursday, and I can set you up with a group who will be expecting you. Food is available from 7.15 and then the study runs from 7.45 to 9.00. Looking forward to seeing you.