Just Different…not Weak
Like the first-century dispute answered well by Jesus about the resurrection of the dead (Mk. 12:26-27)…in plain sight hidden just below the surface within the discourse between God and Moses at the burning bush familiar to every Jew in that day (Ex. 3:6)…this simple truth discussed here about the committed Christian entering into a journey of faith that requires guts, courage, and determination…again is hiding right out there in plain sight for us in the New Testament scriptures.
For example, conventional wisdom would strongly council Jesus to stay away from Jerusalem for several months or even years for His own safety (Jn. 11:8).
But Jesus is not living His life according to conventional wisdom. Jesus is perfectly living a God-composed walk of faith as the Passover Lamb of God atoning sacrifice for mankind’s sins (Jn. 5:30).
This brilliantly engineered life-scheme…jointly composed by God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son of God, and the Holy Spirit…eons of time ago (Rev. 13:8)…does not fall anywhere within worldly conventional normalcy and thinking…because it has a singularly unique storyline…applicable only to Jesus the divine Son of God…and to no one else.
It soars above horizontally conventional imagination (1 Cor. 1:25). For this reason it is beyond the capacity of human literary invention…and must therefore be of divine origin.
These exact same things can be said of every biblical narrative story of faith…in the Old and New Testaments of the Bible.
Jesus goes back to Jerusalem that fateful Passover week, is crucified on Friday, and rises from the tomb on Sunday morning to become the author of salvation to all those who will place their faith in Him.
The life of Jesus, especially concerning the dramatic events leading up to and culminating at Calvary and then Easter morning…are as foreign to worldly acceptable expectations and aspirations of conventionally normal life…as is possible.
How then can disciples…genuine followers of Jesus Christ today…be mislabeled as being weak?
The correctly accurate label is different…not weak.
Different can be good…can sometimes be better.
The mislabeling of Christian faith in God as being weak…has no upside, positive connotation.
Jesus Christ was rejected and crucified because He was different…as prophesied centuries earlier in Isaiah 53 and Psalm 22…as we would and should expect the God/man Jesus Christ…the Son of God to be different…looking back today from the perspective of hindsight.
Yet we see not a hint of weakness throughout the entire life and ministry of Jesus…especially during His trial, crown of thorns, scourging, and crucifixion.
It took the most sublime guts and courage, walking along the most unconventionally unexpected life-path, to be the Savior of the world…to be Jesus Christ.
It takes a similar measure of guts and courage to likewise be a genuine disciple of Jesus Christ in the first-century and today…to pick up our own cross to follow Jesus…as patterned for us in the four New Testament gospels and the book of Acts.
Listen to the powerful, uninhibited words spoken by Peter standing before the governing Jewish Sanhedrin council…at the risk of his life…recorded in Acts 4:8-12:
8 Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel,
9 If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made well;
10 Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole.
11 This is the stone which was set at naught of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.
12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
The underlying go-for-broke…devil-may-care…liberated boldness and precision supporting these brilliantly concise words regarding the Person and resurrection of Jesus Christ…were energized by the Holy Spirit…set in motion entirely through the supernatural works of God alone.
The on-the-edge-of-the-precipice adventure of faith ride that Peter and John are experiencing at this moment…engineered by God…is the diametric opposite of the definition of being weak.
Peter and John are basically saying to the Sanhedrin council…”Go ahead and stone us…we do not care. This is the truth…we are going to speak it…and if this brings about our death…so be it.”
The events of the rejection, crucifixion, and resurrection that Peter is speaking about…first and foremost…are exclusively crafted, shaped, and channeled by God (Isa. 53:3; Ps. 22:16; Ps. 16:10).
The entire scenario of the crippled man healed at the gate of the temple, leading to this momentous confrontation between the old and the new at the beginning of the new covenant Christian church in Jerusalem…is totally set-up and manufactured by God.
Peter is not testifying here, before the Sanhedrin council in Jerusalem, about anything that he has done, using worldly wisdom or cleverly persuasive oratory. The message, power of conviction, and clarity by which Peter speaks are inspired and energized by the Holy Spirit.
The transforming, step-by-step forward progression of the culminating events of Peter’s early discipleship phase, tell us about the perilous but liberating danger zone of faith where the living God may take us…outside of the relatively safe harbor of going our own ways…if we surrender all to follow after God in faith.
Peter’s denial of Christ in the courtyard (Lk. 22:61-62), his personal interview with the risen Jesus on resurrection morning (Lk 24:34), to “I go a fishing” (Jn. 21:3) and “Feed my sheep” (Jn. 21:16), the command to wait in Jerusalem (Acts 1:4), and the stupendous breakthrough on Pentecost (Acts 2), is the miraculous story of a God-made man.
Only God has the capacity to create a God-made man…or woman. Only God has the divine, creative imagination and loving motivation to invent such a context of unconventional events and circumstances wherein changed people…having new spiritually re-born hearts…can function and excel in the areas of truth, love, and courage…at an elevated level of character like no other real-life examples in human history.
No humanistic program on earth could or would do this.
It takes real guts and courage to follow Jesus into a danger- zone of faith adventure…that is outside the safe familiarity of worldly conventional normalcy.
If we could see Jesus present and looking on at the scene of Peter and John courageously defending the new gospel message before the Sanhedrin, we might see Him off to one side at “stage right” with the unmistakable look of loving pride and satisfaction on His face at the progress in character these two young men, starting out as mere fishermen, had made in so short a time.
Through the power of the Holy Spirit, Peter and John were stepping up into the role Jesus had trained them for, and the world would never be the same again.
This is what a biblical-quality journey of faith is designed to accomplish.
This is what The Christian Danger Zone of Faith can achieve, in world-shaking non-conformity, far above the horizontally safe expectations of worldly conventional mediocrity (Rom. 12:2; Acts 17:6).