Many of us have hung a picture on the wall. Think about what hardware you used to hang it. Was it a nail, a hook, or a nail or hook plus a wire? In some cases, it can withstand an earthquake, in others, it won’t survive a toddler’s midday tantrum. The same can be said about the picture frame of the church (and our faith). It holds up the person and work of Jesus, the Son of God, especially His resurrection from the dead.
How strong is that hardware?
We don’t believe that Jesus became the Son of God, we believe He always was the Son of God. But there’s something that affirmed that – His resurrection from the dead. The power of God is on display. This was, and is, the culmination of something God was doing from the beginning.
The Apostle Paul wants to visit Rome. He hasn’t yet. And in some ways, that’s caused the Christians to have doubts and questions.
The righteous will live by faith – this is one of those religious-sounding phrases we’ve shorthanded to mean “the people who are Christians will have the right belief system.”
Have you ever been a part of a company team-building event? You have the t-shirts and participate in the awkward cheers. And there’s the one OG activity we all join during these outings – the classic trust fall. This is when you purposely let yourself fall backward and Jim from Accounting is supposed to catch you.
What are you doing when you do that? You’re taking the action of letting yourself fall based on the assumption that someone will catch you. This is a much closer picture of what faith is.
It’s helpful to understand what was happening in Rome with the early Christians. They were in the epicenter of the most powerful and influential empire in history at that point. There was this sense that the message of Jesus wasn’t enough to compete in a world of high culture, center of influence, wealth, more enlightened religion, or military dominance.
It didn’t seem smart enough, strong enough, or powerful enough, but that’s why the Apostle Paul says, “I’m not ashamed.” In the face of everything else the people put their trust in, there’s nothing about This Gospel of Jesus being just another idea, philosophy, or force. It’s the literal power of God.
The word power is so evident and obvious. It has such an impact that causes a response. It’s the same word used in the book of Acts when Jesus promises that we will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes – a power that literally changed the world.
But it’s important to remember that we don’t bring salvation to ourselves. Not by our talent, ability, qualities, achievements, goodness, or efforts. And we can’t save anyone else by these things either. But Jesus can… and He does.
The power we have hasn’t always moved us into action. It hasn’t had consequences in our lives that cause people to take notice or be in awe.
Often, we're either connected to power or driven instead by the wrong kinds of power. In the meantime, there are plenty of people who believe the worst are fully engaged. And in the absence of that, our world – where we've been called to declare this good news and live it – becomes a race to the bottom. Where the loudest, most forceful, and brutal voices win.
We're surrounded by a lot of things that seem powerful. There are a lot of problems that seem powerful. A lot of forces opposed to God and to the good that seem powerful. They seem insurmountable.
But what if we went all in on living unashamed?
What if we trust fell into the good news of Jesus?
It began with Jesus, but the next move is ours. What will we do with it?
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