Alert: this devotion is longer and took a bit of a turn quickly.
26 “Fellow children of Abraham and you God-fearing Gentiles, it is to us that this message of salvation has been sent. 27 The people of Jerusalem and their rulers did not recognize Jesus, yet in condemning him they fulfilled the words of the prophets that are read every Sabbath. 28 Though they found no proper ground for a death sentence, they asked Pilate to have him executed. 29 When they had carried out all that was written about him, they took him down from the cross and laid him in a tomb.30 But God raised him from the dead, 31 and for many days he was seen by those who had traveled with him from Galilee to Jerusalem.They are now his witnesses to our people.
I like that Paul claims here that Jesus rose from the dead, was walking around, AND lots of people saw Him. With this claim, since he is standing in front of Jesus’ contemporaries (people alive at the same time), those around SHOULD have claimed he was a liar if this weren’t true. Instead of them attacking the truth behind Paul’s claim they begin to incite those around him against him for unrecorded reasons. I feel this is a good tracker for the TRUTH behind Christ having been raised. In fact, there are three things that non Christian scholars believe: 1)Jesus of Nazareth existed 2)He was killed and placed in a tomb 3)many claimed to see him after his death. They stood behind their words so much that’s they accepted death instead of denying their words.
Many modern day laymen (people who aren’t professionals in a field) act like Jesus living and dying is a debatable issue. However, no one denied His existence until the last century or so. The main point of tension was only Christ’s deity. Yet the phrase by Henry Ward Beecher rings true: The philosophy of one century is the common sense of the next. Generations challenged Christ’s deity. Then they shifted to challenging His existence.. after a few generations this theory left the theoretical (due to it’s lack of attack) and then just eased it’s way into “common sense.” The enemy has been expanding his kingdom by way of our inclination to not truly question change. If we are not careful this will happen with everything. In fact, it has. We have changed so much in the last few centuries. Those changes are even thought of as normal now for us! For instance: the theory that a young man or woman can choose their own spouse is phenomenally new and ridiculously naive but we feel like this is a normal right now. Through a couple generations of philosophy we now think that people should be granted the right to choose their spouse with no influence of their parents who spent 18 years of their life molding, shaping, and evaluating their weaknesses. In the vain of “progression” we implement philosophies which have not been proven true… Even now you read this thinking, “we definitely need to be able to choose our own spouse.” However, history shows that wasn’t the case, and around the world it STILL isn’t the case… so how can it be completely wrong? (Obviously that’s not the only support of it) Notice how you have this presupposition built into your mind that is almost unshakable! If we can CHOOSE love, and CHOOSE respect etc. why can’t someone choose to love ANYONE? By the way, choosing to love someone isn’t just a Biblical principle… it’s what the political agenda is currently: no matter your personal opinion you should love all colors, sexualities, etc. This proves what the Bible says is true! We can choose how we feel towards someone based on our investment in those feelings. The reality is we wanted to choose a spouse that was easier to love (looks, personality, etc) instead of working towards it and being with someone those around us who are more mature think would be best for us or would help us fill in the places we are lacking. We have allowed our sense of American rights (another point of pure lunacy) to infiltrate every manner of our life and we THINK this is right… Wake up call: America’s standards are not God’s. In fact, your thoughts are likely MORE shaped by American ideology than Theology. That’s the problem. If you think that being free and choosing your own path is the correct process you’ve been brainwashed by America. I can talk about this for days… so if you want to dive deeper into the matrix lemme know! ;p
Lord I simply pray what David prayed in Psalm 139:23-24 “23 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: 24 And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Keep me from allowing my pride to guide me and keep me from change.
If you are living a “normal American Christian life” you need to evaluate things. I’m not saying God calls you to live in a ditch and be like John the Baptist. However, God calls you to live radically different than the world so if you think your life isn’t marked by Christ then you should be crying out for God to help you. Matthew 7 exists… 21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. God has called us to a purpose and it’s our job to ask Him to evaluate our hearts and change us. I fear many will be led to hell because they believe that one time they said one prayer and that was good. God calls us to have faith in Him… that involves trusting Him… that involves listening to Him… That involves obeying Him.
22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’”
Today’s translation: many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not gone to church, led worship, cast out TV shows from my home, stopped cursing, etc.” and then I will declare to them ‘I never KNEW you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’”
Evaluation needs to occur, and it needs to be by the Spirit not your own conscious/mind. Paul says in 1 Cor 4:4 that even his mind thinking it is innocent does not mean it is true. God will judge you. Pray, pray, and pray some more.