Today: Wednesday, November 13, 2019

After Easter 2: The scattering    (4/14/2013 )

Hindsight is a wonderful thing. Have you ever done something you regretted later? I know I have. I’ve often wished I’d known back then what I know now...

With the benefit of hindsight we can see that the Christian faith has become a massive world religion with billions of followers. But back then, just after Jesus was killed, how did the disciples feel?

In Matthew chapter 26 verse 31, Jesus said that after his death his good work would appear to come to nothing. He told his disciples that ‘you will all fall away because of me this night.’ 

Those awaiting a Messiah were awaiting a great king who would topple those in power and bring peace and prosperity. A shameful and embarrassing death was not what they predicted.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the disciples were all over the place after Jesus was killed. They were scattered, sceptical and scared. They were scattered because John was the only disciple present at the crucifixion when he led Mary, Jesus’ mother, into his own home after she saw her son upon the cross. They were sceptical: Thomas doubted (as we saw last week) and the two disciples on the road to Emmaus doubted — even while talking to Jesus himself!. And they were scared because Peter denied knowing Jesus for fear of being associated with him, and when Jesus appeared to them they had locked themselves away for fear of the Jews.

Not a very promising beginning. How were the disciples going to ‘go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation’ as Jesus commanded them (Mark chapter 16 verse 15) when they were afraid of their own shadows? When they were lost without their leader, discouraged and despairing?

And yet all of a sudden we see boldness and courage. We see the sorry state of those individuals transformed! They are no longer scared, sceptical and scattered. Instead, within a few weeks of Jesus’ death, ‘with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus’ (Acts chapter 4 verse 33). We see them all together in one place performing many signs and wonders regularly among the people. 

Surely only one thing could have effected such a change in such a short amount of time. Jesus was alive; they saw him for themselves, and believed! They must have been convinced and emboldened by meeting the living Christ. I wonder what the disciples would think if they were alive today, looking back with hindsight at the explosion and expansion of the Christian church through the ages.

So what can we take from this? That we can’t see as God sees. We may not be able to see a way out of the confusion and mess and fear of whatever our situation may be, but God can. If we trust in Christ and let God control what’s going on in our lives we don’t need to worry about the bigger picture because we know he has already sorted it out.

With the benefit of hindsight we may or may not be able to recognise his hand. But this we can be sure of - he does GREAT things with unpromising beginnings!

Pray: Lord, thank you that you see the bigger picture even when we don’t. Let us trust in you even when we can’t see the way forwards and help us learn from hindsight and our experiences how best to serve you in the future. Amen.

Think about: Listen to this song. Do you truly believe in what the lyrics are saying? Is it time you started trusting God that he does see the bigger picture and letting him take more control over your life?

: If you look back with hindsight at something you regret or feel hurt by, is there anything you have learnt from it? How could you use that lesson in the future?

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