"Of the Present Tense"
I'm going to call her Mrs. Jones, although that's not her real name. The dear lady lives at a retirement community where we conduct services. She is a big help to us, despite the fact that she requires a walker to move about. Mrs. Jones nevertheless pushes people in wheelchairs to and from our services. It's a pretty amazing sight as sometimes she'll have her walker in one hand, while pushing a wheelchair with another. I've often tried to take the wheel from her, so to speak. However, she very graciously lets me know that I'm not to interfere. "I've got this, Glen." And she does.
About six months ago, we arrived at a service to discover the sad news that Mrs. Jones had passed away. This was shocking to us. Although we knew she had been a bit ill with a cold, we had no idea things had become so serious. We were deeply saddened, and I recall even considering that I might write one of these devotionals about our dear sister and friend. Now, before proceeding, notice that I wrote the previous paragraph in the present tense. It turns out that, like Mark Twain once wrote about himself, the rumors of Mrs. Jones' demise were greatly exaggerated! She didn't die, but got well, thank the Lord! She's still with us to this day, and remains one of our all time favorite congregants.
"The accusers stood up, they brought none accusation of such things as I supposed, but had certain questions against him of their own superstition, and of one Jesus, which was dead, whom Paul affirmed to be alive" (Acts 25:18-19).
"One Jesus, which was dead, whom Paul affirmed to be alive." This is one of my favorite statements in the Bible. Every time I read it or think about it, the thought occurs to me that of all that one can say about a believer, nothing more succinctly proclaims who and what we are about. The Lord Jesus Christ died, was buried, and is risen from the dead. This is the very essence of the Gospel, according to Paul himself (I Corinthians 15:1-4). The Apostle indeed "affirmed" the blessed truth, both by his life and his words. The power of God enables and resides in such glory, enabling believers to declare by word, attitude, and deed the only Hope that exists for humanity. "If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved" (Romans 10:9).
It's a wonderful thing to affirm that Mrs. Jones, thought be dead, is actually alive. What a blessing our sister is to us and to the community where she lives. However, it is a far more wonderful to to affirm that the Lord Jesus was actually dead, and is actually alive. In fact, Mrs. Jones is who she is because the Lord Jesus is who He is. She affirms Him to be alive by her actions, attitudes, and dedication to God and people. What an example, and what a joy to speak of her as with us in the present tense! Yes, the Lord Jesus, crucified, buried, and dead, is risen in "the power of an endless life" (another of my favorite Scriptural expressions - Hebrews 7:16). He is the Lord of the present tense, including this moment, regardless of circumstance, situation, or condition. So long as His tomb is empty, our risen Savior will be everything we need Him to be, and far more. Paul knew and affirmed this by life and word. Mrs. Jones knows and affirms this by life and word. May the same be said of us…
"Ye are My witnesses."
"Let the redeemed of the Lord say so."
Weekly Memory Verse
Help us, o God of our salvation, for the glory of Thy name.