My word of the year keeps surfacing as a reminder from The Lord to do what He has asked of me. It’s not subtle at all. Every time I hear it or see it written I am immediately drawn in to pay attention. I guess I should not have been surprised that on Easter Sunday, surrounded by my precious family, The Lord would use this simple word to speak again. This time…even louder and bolder than ever before.
“‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ the Lord replied. ‘Now ARISE and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen of me and what I will show you. I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.'” Acts 26:15-18
These are Jesus’s words spoken to Saul who was converted to Paul on the road to Damascus. In this account in Acts, Paul is actually giving his testimony to King Herod Agrippa who has Paul in chains for being steadfast and true to his calling as a follower of Christ. Paul tells him how he too was convinced that he ought to oppose the name of Jesus of Nazareth…and he did just that by putting many of the saints in prison and put to death. As he continued to travel in his obsession to fight against those preaching about Jesus, he was blinded by a light from heaven. The bible tells us it was brighter than the sun. He and his companions fell to the ground and he heard a voice in Aramaic, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?
Can you imagine being Saul? You have gone around as a Pharisee, opposing the name of Jesus, when you are blinded and spoken to by Christ himself with the convicting question of WHY? Saul goes on to ask, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ The punctuation of this sentence indicates that he asked the question as a rhetorical…he already knew the answer. Who are you. Lord?
The answer would come with a calling on his life! ARISE and stand on your feet. Jesus promises him that he will rescue him from his own people. He tells him he will send Paul to them to open THEIR EYES and turn them from darkness to light…from Satan to God…so that they may receive forgiveness of sins…and a place, Heaven!
Friends, listen, the story of Easter is not just a story and a day on the calendar to celebrate and forget. There is a calling on our lives as his followers, just like Paul was given. Can you hear him whisper to you…ARISE and stand on your feet! Go and help open the eyes of the lost and broken. Help them to turn from the darkness to the light. Help them to turn from Satan to God…so that they may receive forgiveness and join those that have been sanctified by Christ in Heaven.
Tears! That’s the call on our lives! To help the lost to be found. To tend to God’s sheep. We are all His children, and he wants all of us to make it home to him. I get overwhelmed when I think that He can use a wretch like me, someone that has persecuted him, just like Paul. I have seen him rescue me over and over…more times than I deserve. He keeps restoring me and bringing me back to him. He is so faithful and true. Because of HIS faithfulness it keeps me marching on to spread the good news. I will ARISE and GO! I will share the light of His truth to help those have eyes to see. Will you join me?
This was my favorite worship song from our Easter service. I hope you enjoy taking a listen and hearing the words of truth. Be blessed as you ARISE AND GO!