Chip Stapleton Highland Presbyterian Church April 14th, 2020 Hunkered Down Devotions
Mark 16:15-20 (VOICE)
Jesus: 15 Go out into the world and share the good news with all of creation. 16 Anyone who believes this good news and is ceremonially washed[a] will be rescued, but anyone who does not believe it will be condemned. 17 And these signs will follow those who believe: they will be able to cast out demons in My name, speak with new tongues, 18 take up serpents, drink poison without being harmed, and lay their hands on the sick to heal them.
19 After the Lord Jesus had charged the disciples in this way, He was taken up into heaven and seated at the right hand of God. 20 The disciples went out proclaiming the good news; and the risen Lord continued working through them, confirming every word they spoke with the signs He performed through them.][b]
Today these words from Jesus, ‘Go out into the world….’ Take on special meaning as we are all struggling with being restricted from going out and being in the world as we usually do. But I want to suggest that this call from Jesus, to share the good news of his coming – and the hope, love, and peace it brings with all is more important now than ever.
Last week I was speaking with someone that was mourning the loss of a loved one and he said to me, ‘I just can’t imagine going through this without the hope that my faith brings me, without the hope that I have in Jesus’. I echoed his remarks and shared that it is one of the things I often ponder, how people make it through even ‘normal’ times without the anchor and hope that faith provides.
In this uncertain time all of us are looking for something to cling to and hope to get us through. What that means for those of us that have found our hope in Jesus is that now, more than ever, we need to share the good news of that hope with others.
There are many ways in which we do t that, of course. We should always be looking to ‘give account for the hope that we have’ (1Peter 3:15) in Jesus Christ with our words. But, I think right now, there may be no more powerful witness than to face these days and this crisis with love and grace, hope and a spirit of joy that is not tied to our circumstance, but that flows from Jesus Christ and the presence of the Holy Spirit.
Simply, as followers of Jesus, we believe that our God is bigger than this or any crisis we will face. We believe that our God, through the saving life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ has already overcome all that we will face – even death. And because of Christ’s victory for us, we can face every moment of life, every moment of uncertainty with hope and peace.
And I believe that if we act like we believe what we say we believe, people will take notice, we will stand out – in the most wonderful way – and those around us will want to know what makes us different and how this can be – and then, we can point joyfully to Jesus.
Sharing God’s Love,
Prayer: Holy God, help us to face this and every day with the hope and peace that can be found only in and through you. Help us point others to you with the way we talk, what we do and how we live. Guide us now and always. Amen.