May 12 I Saturday
2 Kings 15-16
“For He has set a day when He will judge the world with justice by the man [Christ] He has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising Him from the dead.” —Acts 17:31
When Paul wrote to the Corinthian church, he preached “Christ crucified: a stumbling-block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles” (1 Corinthians 1:23). When Epicurean and Stoic philosophers gave him the opportunity to speak on Mars Hill in Athens, just a few miles away from Corinth, Paul preached not of Christ’s crucifixion, but His resurrection. What prompted this change in focus?
When Paul first arrived in Athens, he was “greatly distressed” by the city’s many idols (Acts 17:16). He would have been familiar with the passage from Habakkuk 2:19, which states, “Woe to him who says to wood, ‘Come to life!’ Or to lifeless stone, ‘Wake up!’ Can it give guidance? It is covered with gold and silver; there is no breath in it.” The resurrection was the key to Paul’s message in Athens because although idols may be powerful psychological forces for some, they are dead. They might satisfy appetites and ambitions temporarily, but they cannot impute life. Idols are lifeless, but the primary characteristic of the Gospel is that Jesus Christ is alive!
The life of Christ has vital implications for us. Paul explains, “And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of His Spirit who lives in you” (Romans 8:11). All believers understand Christ died for them. Having been reconciled to God, they take comfort in the fact they are on God’s good side, but often leave it at that. The reality of the Christian life is that Christ was raised from the dead to live in us and through us. He lives in us by the presence of the Holy Spirit who empowers us, but He also lives through us so that we may become His agents to accomplish His work in this world.
God often engineers our circumstances so we realize that apart from Him, we are bankrupt. All believers have the life of Christ living in them by the Holy Spirit, but how often do we leave Him dormant? We must daily appropriate the life of Christ by bringing Him into every aspect of our lives. If the only time we focus on Christ is when we turn up in church on Sunday mornings, then we treat Him as little more than another lifeless idol. Acts 17:28 says, “In Him we live and move and have our being.” Spending intimate time with the living Christ on a daily basis is what allows us to experience His life, working in us and through us every day of the week, so that as Christ promises, we may have “life to the full” (John 10:10).
Prayer: Eternal Father, I know I was created to have Your life living in me, and thank You for offering that freely through Your Son. Work through me now, Lord, to nourish that life so I may reveal it to others.