Have you ever wondered how you would have reacted to the discovery of the empty tomb? If you are tempted to believe that you would have assembled the scattered disciples and led them in the singing of “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today,” then you are in a class of your own! When Mary Magdalene announced to the bewildered disciples, “I have seen the Lord!” the news did not inspire faith. Instead, John tells us, “on the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews…”
Oh, to have been a fly on the wall to listen in on their conversation! The context was one of disappointment, fear, and failure. Their lockdown was of their own doing; they had failed to understand the Scripture that Jesus must rise from the dead. (You might profitably stop reading this letter here and resume after reading John 20. There we learn how Jesus appeared among them, spoke peace to them, and commissioned and empowered them.)
Here’s what I’ve been thinking: not “How could they be like that?” but “Why are we so much like that?” By we, I mean the contemporary Church! We are now a small company, with missing members, that has gone into hiding, fearful of opposing forces—a Church that desperately needs to understand the Scripture, needs to be reminded of its mission, to be clear in its message, and to be empowered by the Holy Spirit.
Of course, that is always the case. But as Shakespeare reminds us, “There is a tide in the affairs of men which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune.” This is arguably such a time. Our world is upside down, and neither politics nor science nor education, even taken together, are able to provide an answer. Jesus is the answer, and the same power that sent the disciples out with a holy boldness is ours to experience as we take our place among friends and neighbors.
This is all so basic—and we will be reminding the pastors and church leaders of it at our upcoming Basics conference in just a few weeks. Nothing less than a mighty outpouring of the Holy Spirit can and will turn us from a fearful minority into a faithful army ready like the apostles to live and possibly die for the Gospel.
Your partnership is making it possible to seize the opportunity here at home and around the world.
Warmest Easter greetings from our TFL Team,
With my love in the Lord Jesus,
Topics: Letters From Alistair Begg