Earley: You catch, God cleans

Published 8:07 am Friday, March 24, 2017

By Al Earley

Sun columnist

Last week we went to the top of the mountain with Peter, James and John.

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They were so excited when Jesus was transfigured (Matthew 17:1-13). After that amazing mountaintop experience, the disciples thought they were on top of the world, that is until they came off the mountain and started walking toward Jerusalem.

Over and over, they kept falling short and failing.

After Jesus’ resurrection, they became strong, bold, courageous and obedient in ways they could never be before. I like to call them resurrection disciples and challenge us to desire to be resurrection disciples ourselves.

In Matthew 4:18-22, Jesus calls His first disciples. He calls Peter, Andrew, James and John, all fishermen, and tells them, “Come follow me, and I will send you out to fish for people.” They immediately drop their nets and follow Jesus.

As modern disciples, we marvel at their conviction. We modern disciples surely wonder how quickly we would drop our cell phones and laptops, and follow Jesus if asked.

But the disciples did not do a lot of fishing for people in those years before the crucifixion. Most of the fishing was done by Jesus.

There were moments when they got it right, like when Jesus sent them out two-by-two to preach, teach, heal and cast out demons (Luke 10:1-20). But usually, they were confused, like Peter, James and John were after their mountaintop experience.

Jump ahead to the day soon after Jesus’ resurrection, after the disciples received the Holy Spirit (Acts 2).

Peter and John are boldly proclaiming the good news of Christ to all who would listen in Jerusalem and healing in the name of Jesus. The congregation had grown to around 5,000 men, plus women and children.

Acts 4 tells us how the Sanhedrin, the Jewish ruling elite, were angry with Peter and John and threw them in prison. Then they brought them in front of the whole body and made them defend themselves. This would be as intimidating as being brought before Congress and being grilled by our nation’s leaders. This would be a very intimidating place to be for Peter and John.

They were not afraid. Peter obediently said what the Holy Spirit wanted him to and refused to defend himself and John.

Instead, they told the Sanhedrin about Jesus, how these leaders had helped crucify Jesus, but even now, they could experience salvation in Jesus Christ.

That is bold and courageous evangelism to accuse your accusers and then offer them salvation in the name of the one they had crucified.

Bold and courageous evangelism becomes possible for us if we want to become resurrection disciples.

If statistics can be believed, only 2 percent of Christians ever find a way to share their faith with others.

Some of the reasons include:

— I don’t know what to say. The Holy Spirit will give us the words (Luke 12:12).

— I’m going to make God look bad. Humble yourself before God, and let go of fears of what others think (Proverbs 29:25).

— I’ll be asked something about God I can’t defend. It is OK if you don’t know all the answers.

— What if I can’t save someone because I don’t do it right? It is not our job to save people, it is our job to sow seeds (Luke 8:1-15).

— They are hostile to the gospel. Don’t argue. Plant seeds, and move on (Matthew 7:6).

Being a resurrection disciple is not easy, but the rewards for being obedient, faithful and trusting in our Lord Jesus Christ are beyond explanation.

When was the last time you tried to share the gospel, or invite someone to church?

What was hard about it?

Who do you know that God would like you to reach out to?

Have you prayed for that person/people?

What can you do to become a better evangelist?

I hope you will decide to become a resurrection disciple as you journey to Easter this year.

To find out more about Al Earley or read previous articles see, www.lagrangepres.com.