When Jesus rose from the grave, that wasn’t the end. He appeared to His disciples, and gave them a simple message: “Follow Me.” It wasn’t a message that the 11 hadn’t heard before. For some of them, these were the words Jesus used to draw them into His elite group. They had followed Him for nearly 3 years, but that was different…. He had been visibly in front of them every step of the way. Now, He was leaving, but His message didn’t change: “Follow Me.”
They obviously couldn’t transcend to heaven, so what did Jesus mean? He had taught and prayed and healed and loved… and they were to carry on the tradition. He was passing them the torch, so to speak. Those things that the disciples had observed in Jesus were to be implemented in their own lives. They were to teach, pray, heal, and love.
How easy it is to yell, “He’s alive!” on Easter Sunday, and then go back to our regular lives on Monday morning. Without being changed. Without experiencing the power that raised Jesus from the dead. What a tragedy that is! This same power lives inside of us! It should change us. It should change our lives. It should motivate us to teach, pray, heal, and love.
We don’t have to teach Sunday school to be a teacher. If we have children, our pupils are in front of us every day. If we have a young person who looks up to us, we are teaching them by our words and behaviors. We have a responsibility to teach them the Gospel.
We don’t have to be a pastor to pray. We can pray alone, in our prayer closet, or with a friend who needs help going before the Lord. Prayer is a vital ministry. We can keep a list and pray over it daily. We can offer to pray with a friend spontaneously at church, at work, at Walmart. Anytime someone shares a need, why don’t we just offer it up to the Lord right there? Ultimately, what we need is not advice, not a solution, but more of Jesus. Let’s not wait until we’ve tried every other human measure before we pray. Let’s make it our first stop.
We don’t have to be given the gift of healing to heal. How often we forget the healing power of our words! Giving each other God’s Word via a phone call, an email, a text message, a coffee date, a hand-written note. The Word of God heals. How beautiful are the feet of them who preach the Gospel of peace. And where our feet take us, let our mouths encourage others. Let us visit the shut-in and take flowers to the widow and bake cookies for the single person and take a meal to the sick. Let us seek to heal with the message of the Gospel.
And most of all, we can love. There is an old hymn that says, “They will know we are Christians by our love.” We can find a complete stranger and show them Jesus’ love. A smile, a kind word, a considerate gesture. In an every-man-for himself world, it speaks volumes to let someone in front of us in line at the grocery store. To pay for an older gentleman’s milk, bread, and Snickers bar. To pump gas for an elderly lady in the cold. To pay for someone’s coffee in the drive-through behind us. Jesus said that this is how we serve Him. “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40).
This is a simple formula. It’s so simple that we can stumble over it. We want to obey the commandments and cross off check-lists and do holy things like church attendance and tithing. And these are all important parts of the life of a Christian. But let’s not be so caught up in our legalism that we forget to love. Let’s not be so consumed with religion that we neglect real people. Let’s not be so devout that we ignore the deserted.
Tim Keller says, “No one will believe if we tell them that Jesus loves them until they experience it for themselves.” Jesus didn’t just talk. He proved it. “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
Two simple words. The mission of the church.
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This is the last day of our Journey to the Cross devotional! You can still have a copy emailed to you by subscribing to our newsletter here! We hope you’ve enjoyed this free resource as you’ve celebrated Easter and all that it means to us as the church.
Cara Cobble Trantham is a freelance writer whose passion is to encourage women of all ages to draw closer to the Lord. She lives in Greeneville, Tennessee, with her husband and one-year-old daughter. She loves to send cards in magazine envelopes, counsel ladies over sugar and cream (with a little bit of coffee), and read a good book at the beach. Her bucket list includes eating pizza in Chicago, staying at a bed and breakfast in Savannah, and following a recipe without leaving out an ingredient.