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Mark 287 - Then

After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God. Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.

Mark 16:19,20

What are the great “then” moments of your life? Your “then” moments are points in time when something earthshattering has happened. You start out in a whole new direction. Here are a few of my personal favorites.

  • Then We Were Married. After the pastor pronounced that Mary Ann and I were husband and wife, we kissed and walked down the aisle. And then, we haven’t stopped walking. Life changed from that moment forward.

  • Then We Were Parents. I got a call from my mother-in-law saying that Mary Ann had gone into labor early and that I was going to be a father really soon. And then, I watched the birth of our child. Life changed from that moment forward.

  • Then I Could Move Again. After emergency surgery, I woke up and the deadening paralysis was gone. And then, I started moving my legs and arms again. Life changed from that moment forward.

Jesus died and rose from the dead. His disciples were ecstatic! It energized them. It changed their lives. But the story doesn’t end there. Something else happened. After the roller-coaster high of the resurrection comes another loss. Jesus went back to heaven where he came from. He sat down again at the right hand of God.

But, if Jesus is up in heaven, then he’s not down here anymore. His disciples are left alone again. There is no physical Jesus to turn to. To talk with. To ask the really big questions of life to. So, with this really bad news that Jesus is no longer with them, what did they do?

I’ll tell you what they did. They did the totally unusual thing. Last time Jesus left them, they went into hiding. They ran into the darkest hole they could find. They were afraid that the same thing that happened to Jesus might be done to them.

Not this time. They didn’t just go to the Temple, Synagogue, or some other religious place. They didn’t just go to their families and friends. They didn’t just go to cities. They went everywhere. And what did they do when they got to everywhere?

They spoke. They proclaimed. They told everyone with great conviction and persuasion. They went and they spoke because they had been with Jesus. They were eyewitnesses and just had to tell everyone what they had seen. What they heard. What they had experienced.

And what did God do? He worked through their words. Actions. Lives. He stood beside them as they went. As they spoke. As they lived. But more than just standing, he showed up. He showed up with power. Power that made people understand that these disciples were speaking and acting for Jesus. God performed miracles. Removed obstacles. Supported them. Changed the lives of people everywhere.

And we can draw a straight line from them to us. The reason Christianity exists, the reason that people believe, the reason you are reading these words all goes back to those early disciples.

They didn’t have a roadmap. They didn’t have a manual to follow. They didn’t have a checklist to work through. No one had ever done anything like this before. But that didn’t stop them. They went. They spoke. The Lord worked with them.

I love that phrase, the Lord worked with them. He started right where they were, and they went forward. Together. This working with them didn’t just happen in big meetings, but everywhere and anywhere they went. The Lord worked with them on the mountain tops, and in the valleys. The Lord worked with them while walking on the road and standing in the marketplace.

Yes, the Lord worked with them. But there was a starting point. Yes, the Lord worked with them, but he didn’t just overwhelm or force them. They had a role to play. They had decisions to make. They had things to do. They had a starting point.

It all started at “then”. Their “then” moment came after the resurrection and ascension of Jesus. And their “then” lead to leaving the familiar. Going out and talking. Sharing what they had personally experienced. Their “then” led to a whole new perspective on life and power for living.

Which makes me wonder, have you had your “then” moment with the Lord? It’s a life changing encounter where nothing is ever the same again. It comes after you have personally come face-to-face with the risen Jesus. I know this sounds mysterious and mystical. But that doesn’t change the reality of it.

Jesus is risen. And that changes everything. Has it changed everything in your life? If not, they you really don’t know that Jesus is risen.

It’s as simple as that.

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