44 Jesus said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the Law from Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures. 46 He said to them, “This is what is written: the Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and a change of heart and life for the forgiveness of sins must be preached in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 Look, I’m sending to you what my Father promised, but you are to stay in the city until you have been furnished with heavenly power.”
The resurrected Jesus taught his followers to reflect on the big picture of Israel’s history from Moses to the Psalms, to see that in the Christ (anointed one) there is salvation and justice. The link between repentance and becoming a member of God’s kingdom was there just as it had been at the start of his ministry. But what Jesus shared was far more than just information. It was a job description--he sent them with orders to share his message of repentance and forgiveness of sins. “You are witnesses,” he said, promising that God’s power would help them spread his message to all nations.
God, keep me alert for chances to faithfully share your story. Give me courage when afraid, confidence when unsure, passion when indifferent. Help me share my personal story of a changed heart and life. Amen.
During Lent, we have a weekly video that will help you reflect on the key themes from Words that Changed the World: The Message of Jesus. Pastor Valerie Vogt leads us through our first video. Click here to watch it on YouTube (or click on the image below).
One week ago, we were being confirmed at Resurrection Downtown. We stood on stage under the hot, blinding lights. We had never been up there before. People we didn't know were staring at us…looking expectantly at us…we think. It was difficult to see. We were nervous.
The stares of the congregation didn't make us more nervous though. We figured they had been through this before. That was comforting. Confirmation taught us that our journey isn't really about us, anyway. It's about being part of something greater than ourselves. It’s about a community, a Kingdom of God. It’s about what we build together for God’s glory.
We also learned that if our journey takes a strange turn along the way, we can always start fresh. We serve a God who loves us and wanders alongside us no matter where our journey meanders. A God who’s always willing to help us start again.
Then the pastors handed us certificates with our full names on them. You don’t see that every day! They marked our foreheads with oil, and everybody prayed for us. It was strange. It wasn’t bad--just different. That’s the thing about trying something new. It often feels strange in the beginning, but it’s unlikely to feel strange after it becomes familiar. We hope our faith journey with Jesus will be similar. We think our strange initiation into faith will become a familiar walk of faith.
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