Thursday, April 11, 2019

EmmDev 2019-04-11 [Lent2019] Trials and Trouble: Paul#1

Trials and Trouble: Paul#1

Jesus' journey to the cross is called the "Via Dolorosa" (the Way of Suffering). Because Jesus embraced our suffering James, Paul, Peter and the early church were able to face suffering too. Yesterday we saw how Peter trumped trouble with hope, how he saw trouble as an opportunity to grow and how God draws near to us in trouble.

Today we come to Paul's perspective...

Paul recognised that people and their lives are but clay pots. (In Graeco-Roman culture, clay pots were regarded as not very valuable, used for menial functions and discarded easily.) His point is that life was fragile, undervalued and often regarded as disposable.

But there is a great treasure placed in us. God has breathed His Spirit into us and so we are valuable and strong. This means that although trouble comes, we have a remarkable capacity to survive. The persecutors of the early church discovered this to their frustration. They put Christians before lions and gladiators, set them on fire in Nero's garden and harassed them so badly that they had to hide in the catacomb graves underground and... still... the... church... survived!!!

What gives the followers of Jesus the power to survive trials and persecution? Jesus, the one who faced God's wrath for guilty humanity, carried all our brokenness on the cross and willingly surrendered to death not only rose from the dead but He lives in us! He knows our pain and His resurrection is at work in us.

So Paul says: death is at work, but so is life. There is no guarantee that there will not be pain and death, but life will triumph over death.

Read the incredible passage below and pray with me: "Lord there are days that I feel very much like a clay pot: Plain, ordinary, disposable and fragile. But you have given me Your breath. I have eternal value and You (the One who conquered death) will bring life to me. Thank You! In the name of the One who walked the Via Dolorosa. Amen."

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.

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