power or play?
"With power the apostles bore witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus." —Acts 4:33
The Christian proclamation of the risen Jesus is often upstaged. Our culture accomplishes this with the end of college basketball, the beginning of professional baseball, or even by the Easter bunny, marshmallow chicks, or chocolate rabbits. We Christians lose in the competition for people's attention. We obviously lack power in bearing witness to Jesus' resurrection. To have the power of the early Church in witnessing for the risen Lord, we need to:
- be "of one heart and one mind" (Acts 4:32). True unity is a miracle which can be done only by the risen Christ.
- hold our possessions in common and not claim things as our own (Acts 4:32, 34).
This seems insane to the typical Christian, but those in the world instinctively know that if our economics aren't radically changed by the risen Christ, we probably don't believe in Him much more than they do. Unity and "common-unity" are telltale signs of what we really believe.
Jesus is praying now that we will be one as He and the Father are one so the world will believe the Father sent Him (Jn 17:21). This is unity of heart, mind, and possessions. It is laying everything at the feet of Jesus and of the apostles (Acts 4:35, 37). It is not ownership but stewardship. It is unity under the lordship of the risen Christ (see Eph 1:10).
Prayer: Father, may my life be unexplainable except for the fact of Jesus' resurrection.
Promise: "The Son of Man must be lifted up, that all who believe may have eternal life in Him." —Jn 3:14-15
Praise: St. Anselm asked for mercy from the Pope for the very king who had exiled him from England.
Reference: (For related teaching, order our booklet Introduction to Small Christian Communities or on audio tapes AV 76-1, AV 76-3 or video V-76.)
Rescript: †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, October 3, 2008
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