Have you ever had a spiritual idea that really thrilled you and even though you got caught up in the excitement of it, when you tried to convey it to other Christians, they just didn’t ‘get it’? In your mind, the concept you were sharing was full of the fire of God but that fire did not seem to spread further than your own heart. It is frustrating when your own excitement is not shared by others, and you question why this thing you believe to be of God was not contagious?
I like the part of the resurrection story when the women go to tend to Jesus’ body in the tomb but find the stone rolled away and two angels who tell them that Jesus has risen. When the women run to let the disciples know the good news, they are not believed as ‘their words seemed to them like nonsense’ (Luke 24: 11). You can imagine the women on fire with the news of the resurrected Jesus, and the excitement in their hearts that then lands like a lead balloon at the disciple’s feet. How exasperated the women must have felt in those moments before Peter got up and ran to find out for himself.
Such is our exasperation when our own fire is quenched by others’ lack of enthusiasm. I remember getting up in a church meeting years ago to share a revelation I had had about the power and awesomeness of the God we worship each Sunday in church. Of course, this was not a new revelation, but it was one that had only just struck me: the God who created the universe was the same God we sang songs to in church. Not only was He Father, he was CREATOR GOD and we had full access to Him! I was excited about this notion, about the possibilities that this idea presented but was faced with a distinct lack of exuberance. I went back to my seat deflated and my own zeal dissipated.
Things are different now though. Bob Dylan puts my present feelings into words in his song title: The Times They Are a-Changin’. Within the church I now attend there’s an excitement in the air and it’s contagious. There’s talk of revival and it’s taken to heart. There’s acknowledgment of the power and awesomeness of the God we worship and it’s spreading. God is raising up an army and it’s starting with us...a group of people that He’s gathered together who ‘get it’; who are excited by the possibilities God presents us with. If you aren’t already among a body who ‘gets it’, find one! I can’t stress strongly enough how important it is to be among people on fire for God; people who want to do His will; people willing to lay down their own egos to serve Him and seek His purpose.
We are not powerless in this calling. The power that the disciples witnessed in Jesus and the power that raised Him from the dead is the same power available to us today. Jesus said, “I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater works than these.” Paul, in Ephesians 1: 19-20 says, ‘I pray that you will know how great His power is for those who have put their trust in Him. It is the same power that raised Christ from the dead.’
How often have we read these words but their potential had not resonated with our spirit? But now God is stirring us, and the promise contained within those scriptures is becoming a reality, not for our own ends but for the glorification of God. We, His followers, have the same power within us that Jesus called upon when he performed His miracles: the power of the Father... Creator of the universe, and the excitement of this fact is spreading. God’s fire is being passed from one person to another like flying embers that set alight dry kindling: re-igniting a passion in our hearts that we felt when we first came to know Jesus but which, for many of us, had some how morphed into something wearied and wavering.
When the women came from the tomb to tell the disciples their incredible news their message was not well received by these men, once passionate about their teacher but who now gathered together wearied and wavering. Nonetheless, some burning embers fell on Peter and set alight a curiosity that caused him to run and find out for himself. This man who had denied Jesus and then abandoned Him before His trial and who hid, afraid and despondent after the crucifixion, had his faith re-ignited by the possibility of the seemingly impossible: Jesus had risen from the dead!
It barely seems possible that we can do greater things than Jesus did; it sounds like nonsense, but that is what He Himself tells us in the Word. Let that ember settle for a moment and see if something begins to smoulder!