Jesus Challenge: Invitation
The resurrection of Jesus changes everything. Darkness is turned to light, death turned to life, despair turned to hop, and perhaps most significantly sinners turned to saints. Jesus transforms the lives of His people so that they may live more like Him. Jesus turns the sell out into the sold out for His kingdom through the process of discipleship. Early disciples faced persecution and resistance from the world. A good number of them suffered a great deal for their faith. Some, like Paul, were disowned by their family. Some were imprisoned. Some were beaten. Some were even killed for following Jesus and preaching the gospel of His grace. 2000 years later not much has changed. All over the world there are Christians who suffer because of the name of Jesus.
In America physical persecution is pretty rare. While being a Christian might get you mocked, disowned, made fun of, fired, or lose you some potential opportunities in life the overall cost seems pretty low. As a result we can sometimes give too much credit to fear. As followers of Christ, even in the face of the most horrid of persecution we have nothing to fear. Why? Because Jesus rose from the dead. Jesus defeated death. He gives us victory over the greatest threat against us. We have nothing to fear because no matter what happens to us in this life when we have Jesus we have victory.
Jesus’s resurrection doesn’t just change our standing with God, it changes our attitude towards Him. Peter was a sellout. While Jesus was on trial Peter denied Jesus three times to save himself. When Peter saw Jesus, risen from the dead, something in him changed. He went from sellout to sold out for the kingdom of God. He boldly proclaimed the gospel even when he was endangering his life to do so and ultimately- he died upside down on a cross because he did not consider himself worthy to die in the same fashion as Jesus did.
The early disciples faced real persecution. While we may face persecution it is pretty weak by comparison. Getting laughed at or insulted by a stranger just doesn’t compare to bleeding or dying. Sadly we often respond to persecution with cowardice. We water down the gospel, hide our light, and in effect deny Jesus with our lives. Many of us live like the pre-resurrection Peter. Jesus calls us to do more. He challenges us to do better. What Jesus says to Peter after raising from the dead is the message He would likely share with most of us:
“Do you love me? Then feed my sheep!” It’s time to stop selling out and to become sold out for Jesus. The challenge is simple
It’s time to be courageous, and the charge is very simple: invite someone to church. We all have people in our lives who don’t know Jesus and don’t love Jesus. Every spiritual journey begins with an invitation. So be that invitation.