Actively bringing about much needed change in our communities and hope to the broken and disheartened.
So, I know that the crusades were mostly bad…or all bad…but I can’t help but loving that phrase, “The power of Christ compels you!” I think I actually may have heard it first from The Kingdom of Heaven (which is such a clutch movie). For me, this phrase ranks alongside: “This. Is. SPAAARTAAAA” from 300 as totally epic and memorable(I like war movies and history…it doesn’t get much better than war movies from history…not that there are a lot of war movies from the future). But as I have spent more time thinking about that phrase, “The Power of Christ compels you,” I wonder how that actually might apply to me right now. What does the power of Christ actually compel me to do? Anything?
I recently have been teaching my youth group what it means to be a real disciple. It’s been super convicting for me, and for my youth to think about how radical being a disciple actually is. I can get into it, but in order to keep this a reasonable size post I’ll need to get those issues out there in another episode. I taught a lesson out of Matthew 10, and that is where I would like to draw from for this post. (Don’t forget, we’re talking about the Power of Christ compelling you). In Matthew 10 we see Jesus sending out his 12 disciples into towns which make up the “lost sheep of Israel” with the goal of preaching this message: “The kingdom of heaven is near.” This sounds a lot like what he tells them at the end of Mark when he says to go into all nations with the good news. But we often stop there, don’t we? We often think our job is to go out and tell people. Telling does some stuff – but telling isn’t all there is. In verse 8 of chapter 10, this is what Jesus instructs his disciples to do: “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons.” Ok, woah, when did Benny Hinn start tampering with the Bible? Heal people? Cleanse skin disease? Drive out demons? RAISE PEOPLE FROM THE DEAD? That is pretty crazy stuff; pretty crazy POWERFUL stuff. So often we view the disciples as these guys who were giants of faith and extra “special” because they got to be right there with Jesus. Jesus must have sprinkled them with his “Jesus healing talcum powder” and they were able to heal people because of it. But the way I see the disciples in the Bible, is that they were full of doubts. They were pretty scared dudes who didn’t know how to be all they could be for Jesus. Then he tells them to go raise people from the dead. I probably would have guessed that NONE of those guys had raised someone from the dead before this moment in time – I can only imagine their reaction:
“Uh, Jesus, did you say…raise people from the dead?” the disciples asked, flabbergasted.
“Let him who has ears, hear.” Jesus replied.
“Um…how exactly?” they responded dumbfounded.
“The Power of Me compels you.” Christ replied.
Can you imagine being a disciple walking into a town where you know absolutely no one, then walking up to the first funeral procession you see, stopping it, standing over the dead person and saying “Wake up dead guy (or gal) – the power of Christ compels you!” Then hoping, praying, pleading with God that he raises the person or else you are totally going to be stoned to death in the next 10 seconds. I mean, I just spent the last large amount of space describing to you the immensity of this request from Christ to his disciples. It is one thing to pray from someone’s cough to get better, it’s a whole other thing to raise them from the dead. But you see that’s the point. We don’t do anything. It is Christ through us. It’s his power, or so we say. Because you see, it’s SO easy to rely on your own power to tell others about the kingdom of heaven. That hardly takes much faith at all when you think about it. But Christ sent out his disciples in power, that the message they took with them would be impactful because of the power they demonstrated through Christ. He came as Sanctifier, Healer, and Coming King. If we claim to be followers of Christ (and I mean, true followers – the kind that put their hand to the plow and don’t look back…see Luke 9:62) then why don’t we claim the power of Christ? Doesn’t Jesus tell his disciples that if they had the faith of a mustard seed – just a tiny bit of faith – they could move entire mountains?! Not that Jesus wants us rearranging the scenery, but the fact remains that we don’t live our lives with the amount of faith that Jesus is asking from us, do we? How many people have you healed recently in an attempt to bring them to Christ? How do you pray for those who are sick and hurting? I used to (and still do I guess) pray like this: “God, help the doctors know what to do…” I have a story to tell, then I’m done.
I was diagnosed with an inguinal hernia about a month ago. I had some pretty severe discomfort below my abdomen for about 2 weeks, so I decided to get it checked out. It was going to need surgery (obviously) and I was going to be out of work for at least 2 weeks after surgery. I was pretty bummed out frankly, but I took it in stride and starting making the appropriate arrangements to be out of work. I was telling a few people about it, having them pray for me and what not, when one day (it was a Tuesday) I had a pastor acquaintance of mine call me up and pray for me. Unlike the prayers I usually prayed, he prayed like this: “Father God, in the name and power of Jesus we command that hernia to disappear. We give you until the 8th (my pre-surgery appointment) to do it, and we trust you to take it away.” I was shocked. He actually prayed that the hernia would go away. He didn’t say “God, if it be your will please take it away” or “Jesus comfort Ryan as he struggles with pain.” He said TAKE IT AWAY. I stopped having pain that night. Didn’t have pain for 2 days straight and I was like – I’m healed. This is awesome. Then the pain came back, and I was seriously bummed. My mother expressed to me that she had a similar experience of healing, then having it come back, but that I needed to live in the healing power of Christ. So I claimed it, and spent the next 3 days with no pain. You’ll never guess what my surgeon told me…
The power of Christ compels you. Do something about it.