Believe and Testify
Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils. 10 And she went and told them that had been with him, as they mourned and wept. 11 And they, when they had heard that he was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not. 12 After that he appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and went into the country. 13 And they went and told it unto the residue: neither believed they them. 14 Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen. 15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. 17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; 18 they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. – Mark 16:9-18
Jesus was raised and appeared to His followers just as He said He would. They testified, but no one believed them. It seems no one believed without a face-to-face encounter with Jesus. (Correct me, someone, if I am wrong) I think the same is true today. No one comes to Jesus without being drawn. My encounter with Jesus may make someone want to seek Him, but the only thing that brings change is a personal encounter with the Lord, and then the only thing that sustains is a personal relationship with Him.
That reminds me of the testimony of the woman at the well. She went to the town and testified, and it made the people hungry to find out more. The Bible says that they came and met Jesus, and they left having been saved, not just by her testimony but because they had heard from Jesus themselves.
John 4:39-42 – And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did. So when the Samaritans were come unto him, they be sought him that he would tarry with them: and he abode there two days. And many more believed because of his own word; And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the World.
Our testimonies are important to draw people, and God uses our testimonies to cause the need to be realized in hearts. But it was true for me and I believe true for everyone – only a genuine face-to-face encounter with Jesus saves!
And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 45 Get you up from among this congregation, that I may consume them as in a moment. And they fell upon their faces. 46 And Moses said unto Aaron, Take a censer, and put fire therein from off the altar, and put on incense, and go quickly unto the congregation, and make an atonement for them: for there is wrath gone out from the LORD; the plague is begun. 47 And Aaron took as Moses commanded, and ran into the midst of the congregation; and, behold, the plague was begun among the people: and he put on incense, and made an atonement for the people. 48 And he stood between the dead and the living; and the plague was stayed. 49 Now they that died in the plague were fourteen thousand and seven hundred, beside them that died about the matter of Korah. 50 And Aaron returned unto Moses unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation: and the plague was stayed. – Numbers 16:44-50
How many more would have lost their lives if Moses hadn’t instructed Aaron to intercede?
The Safety of the Wilderness
Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me, and horror hath overwhelmed me. And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest. Lo, then would I wander far off, and remain in the wilderness. Selah. – Psalms 55:5-7
The psalmist is hurting and overwhelmed by so much going on in his world and his mind. He wants to fly far, far away to the wilderness to rest. To fly to a wilderness says to me he wants to be in a rugged and lonely place. A hard place. Haven’t we all been there?
Why the wilderness? Maybe because you are pretty sure others won’t follow you there. They might follow and come against you when you are sitting comfortably, but no one much fights to go to the wilderness…except those who want to go deeper with God. Those will find that in the wilderness, there is a great safety. That the Presence of the Lord, though sometimes hard found, is always there. It is a place where you can rest, and if the enemy arrives to take you down, you will likely see him coming.
The Wicked Will Perish
When a wicked man dieth, his expectation shall perish: and the hope of unjust men perisheth.- Proverbs 11:17
Everything! Everything of the wicked will perish, including plans and all that we put hope in…even worldly hope (or expectation) itself, will die. The only hope that will remain is the one, true, living HOPE – our Blessed Hope – JESUS!