“As we live with our hearts set on high with the Lord, longing for paradise and the age to come, our present realities are infused with his heavenly presence.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – August 25, 2022
So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us—one of these men must become with us a witness to his resurrection.” Acts 1:21-22, ESV
Can you name Christ’s 12 apostles? It’s harder than you think! Names like Mark, Luke, or John likely are quick to come to mind. Yet what about Bartholomew or Simon the Zealot? Chances are these biblical figures live deeper in the recesses of your memory, or simply aren’t there at all. Though lesser known to us or less prominent in our collective Christian memory, these are still remarkable men who witnessed firsthand the transformative power of Christ as he brought the kingdom of God into their midst.
In Acts 1, we’re introduced to an even lesser known apostolic figure: Matthias. As I read the powerful story of his appointment to take the place of Judas Iscariot, two things stand out to me. First, Peter looks back and notes that there were many other disciples of Christ who were a part of the early church, known by name and loved by the apostles, yet unknown to us. It is from their ranks that a man was to be appointed to the apostolic office of leadership. Proximity to Jesus was the primary qualification for this office. Second, I notice that the same proximity that qualified Matthias for nomination is at the same time the heart of the mission and vocation into which he was invited. Just as he was near to Jesus during his earthly ministry, Matthias the Apostle was being asked to live as an embodied witness and testimony to the power of Christ’s resurrection.
As the church grew and expanded around the world, moving from “first generation” leaders appointed by Christ himself to their descendants, the qualifications remained the same: is this person a living witness to the resurrection of Jesus Christ? In truth, apostle or not, this is the foundational question each of us must ask of ourselves. Are we living, day in and day out, as witnesses to his resurrection?
I love the aspirational nature of this passage. “One of these men must become with us…” A witness to Christ’s resurrection is not simply a well-read or well-trained apologist, able to defend their positions or beliefs. No, to witness is to become something you previously were not. It is a statement of transformation, of the new life that is known only through Christ’s defeat of sin and death.
As we live with our hearts set on high with the Lord, longing for paradise and the age to come, our present realities are infused with his heavenly presence. Weak and imperfect as we surely are, we can still become vessels of his grace, new creatures that hope in his return and the renewal of all things. Choose today to live as a witness to his resurrection!
Father, by the power of the Spirit, transform and renew me so that I may daily live as a witness to the power of Christ and the hope of resurrection. Amen.
Take time over the coming weeks to review the lives of the 12 apostles, paying attention to the specific ways each of these men lived as a witness to Christ’s resurrection.
Maverick City Music feat. Chandler Moore & Steffany Gretzinger: Refiner
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