There is an old saying that goes like this.
“There are people who make things happen, there are people who watch things happen, and there are people who wonder what happened.”
Christians fall into the first group. We make things happen. Not in the sense that the world understands, but in the spirit. Christians are in a work of transformation where they are being changed, molded & transformed into the image of Jesus Christ. We know that faith can move mountains as Jesus taught and we believe the words of James when he wrote in James 5:16-18:
16 …The prayer of a righteous man has great power in its effects.
17 Eli’jah was a man of like nature with ourselves and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth.
18 Then he prayed again and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth its fruit.
But this section of Acts is more interesting because it looks at those in one or the other of the other two categories. The new governor of Judea, Festus, was baffled and he was like the third group left wondering “Wha…wha…what happened?” So let’s take a look at these three aspects and see what value & insights they offer us today.
Festus the newly appointed governor has this prisoner, Paul, left in jail by the former governor & is trying to work out what to do with him. He has already examined him once with the Jewish leaders casting many serious allegations against him, but they were unable to prove anything. Festus suggested they all go up to Jerusalem to go through the whole matter again, but Paul stated he was in the court of the Romans and that is where he should be tried if he had committed any crime, which he had not, so he appealed to Caesar as a Roman citizen and was to be sent to Rome.
But Festus was utterly baffled about this whole matter. He did not have a clue about what was going on for their was such vehemence and hatred from the Jewish leaders towards Paul over the things Paul preached, of which Festus had no inkling.
Festus just didn’t get it. He had little comprehension of the ways of the Jews and even less of the new teachings of Christianity being preached by Paul and others.
So when the king & his wife, Agrippa & Bernice came to visit, Festus asked if he would listen to Paul so that he could know what charges or what to write when he sent Paul to Caesar. His bafflement is evident from the comments in verses 26-27.
26 But I have nothing definite to write to my lord about him. Therefore I have brought him before you, and, especially before you, King Agrippa, that, after we have examined him, I may have something to write.
27 For it seems to me unreasonable, in sending a prisoner, not to indicate the charges against him.”
The situation Festus found himself in is not unlike that of many unbelievers. They do not understand that what Christians believe is the key to life. The faith that Christians hold in Jesus Christ is the key to finding all of the things that the world seeks, but they cannot understand how that is even possible.
In our faith we believe we shall see peace, joy, true love, happiness, release from bondage, freedom from sin and in the end, eternal life. All of this and much, much more is offered to those who come to Christ and accept His ways and the teachings that lead to life in Christ Jesus. The promises of God to all of mankind are there just waiting for any and every man to take hold of them if they will just worship God.
But many do not and will not.
Folly of Unbelief
Paul made an excellent point about this issue in 1 Corinthians 1:18-25 where he said,
18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
19 For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the cleverness of the clever I will thwart.”
20 Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?
21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe.
22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom,
23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles,
24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
When Paul calls the teachings of Christianity “folly” it is evident that he is speaking with his tongue firmly planted in his cheek.
It is those outside the church who consider the things we believe to be folly or foolishness. They wonder how anyone could possibly believe firstly, that anyone had or could ever be resurrected from the dead, and secondly, why anyone would believe such a thing and expect to be rewarded for such a belief.
To those people what Christians believe is foolishness. They are unenlightened about the things of God and unless or until they repent & seek God, they will perish for their lack of faith.
Choosing the Right Tools
Man believes he will solve all the mysteries of the universe through science, including at some point the mysteries of why people die and how to prevent or reverse it. But they can never find those truths because they are using the wrong methodologies and tools to seek them out.
Think of it like this. If you want to see the far distant planets and stars, you use a telescope. If you want to see germs, microbes and such you use a microscope. Each tool is designed for a specific purpose and you cannot use these tools for the other purpose. You will never see the detail of the moon and planets with a microscope & likewise never see the detail of celluar structure with a telescope.
Both tools allow you to see but they have very different perspectives and see very different things.
In Christ and in this world the same issues exist. Science observes and sees the world through physical means. The tools and methods of science are analytical and deal with what can be measured through the physical presence of whatever it is they are examining. They measure, weigh, touch and test in the physical dimensions that can be measured. And these are the wrong tools to find God.
God cannot be seen or measured like anything of this physical realm for God is Spirit. To seek God requires a “spiritual toolkit” and to find Him means we need to seek Him on His terms and via His methods.
The “toolkit” of the spirit is based upon faith, prayer, belief, love and all the other attributes of the spirit. It is only by these thinsg that we can find God and the primary method to finding Him is to come to Him through the physical representation He gave us in Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ said, “”I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) There is no other way to come to the Father, God, but by faith in Jesus Christ.
Wisdom of God
Now going back to the words of Paul in 1 Corinthians 1:18-25 as quoted above, we see that when a person DOES come to God they do find a wisdom. But it is not a wisdom of this world but the wisdom of God. It si the wisdom that leads to life, both a better life here and now and eternal life with the Lord in the future.
But this wisdom cannot be understood by people of the world who lack faith. When they read the Bible it is just a book. But when the Lord opens the bible up to a person by the Holy SPirit as teacher, guide and counselor, then it comes to life and shows us the way and the wisdom of God.
That is why Christians are in theplace of those who “make things happen” and not those who watch or wonder what happened. We make things happen because our actions lead us to God and to life and to an abundance of all that is good…love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
This is the true wealth that comes through the wisdom and knowledge of the things of God. It is these things that sustain the riches of this life and the next. Life does not consist of the abundance of our possessions as the rest of the world seeks, but it consists of the abundance of our love for God and for others. If you want to make things happen, then seek to make these things happen that lead to life with Jesus Christ. That is a better goal than what the world seeks and who in the end will wonder what happened as they are cast away from the Lord.
(Image sourced from stock.xchng provided by Chris Baker)
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