Becoming the Transforming Presence of Christ (3.31)

Today, June 12, marks the liturgical celebration of Pentecost – the festival celebrating the gift of the Holy Spirit to Christian believers (Acts 2), fulfilling the promise given by Jesus in John 14.  In terms of church history Pentecost marked the beginning of the Christian church as we understand it – in terms of theology the implications of God giving us His Spirit are unfathomable.

This past week at my early-morning men’s Bible study we were looking at Acts 2 and the miracle that took place on that day.  As part of my preparation for our meeting I read through our daily devotional and was hit square in the face by the following statement:

“Peter wants all who hear him to know that the Spirit, when poured out upon the people, makes prophets of sons and daughters, visionaries of young men and women, and dreamers of the elderly.  Prophets, visionaries, and dreamers comprise an odd lot.  They are the ones who seem out of step because they are one step ahead of the rest of us.

“Jesus had lived, died and been raised from the dead.  He had now ascended into heaven.  No longer is he a physical presence on earth.  Who will carry on?  How will they carry on?

Ordinary men and women will become the transforming presence of Christ.  The outpouring of the Holy Spirit will empower and equip [us] for the missionary effort that will change the world as [we] become the prophets, visionaries, and dreamers.” (emphasis mine)

Do you see what it says?  That we – you and me – are God’s plan to reach the lost.  There is no backup-plan, no alternate, no “Plan B” – we are it.  If we don’t follow God and share his love with those around us no one will.  I left our meeting that morning asking (and I’ve been asking myself every day since then), “How do I act as the transforming presence of Christ in others’ lives?”  To my shame, the answer is that too often I allow fear to inhibit my playing of the part.

Read what Paul wrote to the Romans in Romans 10:11-17:

“Scripture reassures us, “No one who trusts God like this—heart and soul—will ever regret it.” It’s exactly the same no matter what a person’s religious background may be: the same God for all of us, acting the same incredibly generous way to everyone who calls out for help. “Everyone who calls, ‘Help, God!’ gets help.”

“But how can people call for help if they don’t know who to trust? And how can they know who to trust if they haven’t heard of the One who can be trusted? And how can they hear if nobody tells them? And how is anyone going to tell them, unless someone is sent to do it?” (The Message)

As we depart for the summer I challenge you to find a way to be that person who shares Jesus with people you meet; I challenge us all to never fear following Him and sharing Him with a lost and hurting word.  Because if we don’t who will?


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