Astonishing

Look at me and be astonished; clap your hand over your mouth. Job 21:5

We love to be amazed. Ordinary doesn’t cut it for this generation. Average barely gets a mention. But when something really wows us, we can’t help sharing what we witnessed.  Phone lines, Facebook pages and Twitter accounts start buzzing, and news of the astonishing spreads like wildfire.

Unfortunately, most of what we’re compelled to share has nothing to do with Jesus. Somehow the One who brought us the ultimate “wow factor” has been reduced to short, encouraging Scripture quotes to help remind us that He even exists. Amazing is left to great football plays, astounding special effects, or even the ridiculously stupid. These days, we don’t really expect to be astonished by Jesus.

Perhaps we’re missing something. According to Hebrews 13:8,

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Have you been astonished by Jesus? Have you encountered Him in a way that so filled you with awe that you couldn’t help but share it? He means to astound you, dear one. Jesus specializes in the extraordinary.

When was the last time the glory of Christ’s presence ignited you to share what you experienced?  What happens when you meet with other believers? Do your church services and gatherings reveal the unexplainable in a way that even non-believers can’t help but talk about it?

That’s the legacy of the church handed down to us through Scripture. Church didn’t start out as orderly programming that followed a workable schedule and met expectations each week. Church began as groups of believers encountering the presence of the God they worshiped and becoming empowered beyond their abilities to reveal His glory.

Consider these reactions of unbelievers as they witnessed what was happening in the early church.

  • Utterly amazed, they asked: “Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language? Acts 2:7-8
  • When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. Acts 4:13

God’s presence among His people caught the attention of the lost. They couldn’t help but take notice. What they witnessed defied what they could logically explain.

Perhaps the most astonishing miracle occurred among the believers themselves.

Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles.  All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. Acts 2:43-46

Thousands of Christians from different backgrounds, with different personalities and unique desires, united as one. With hearts full of joyous praise, they shared all they had. Selfless love permeated the church,

And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. Acts 2:47

Come to think of it, it sounds like the early church fulfilled what Jesus claimed to be the greatest commandment in all of Scripture.

“’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Luke 10:27

Scripture teaches that when believers fight among themselves, we act like “mere men” (1 Corinthians 3:3).  Quarreling indicates a quenching of the Spirit; it reveals that we’ve chosen to exalt our own desires instead of submitting to His. Unity expressed through love, however, reveals Christ’s presence in our midst.

You may be wondering, is such unity even possible? Scripture confirms that it is. In fact, it’s not only possible, it’s God’s declared will for His church. And remember, dear one, God’s will always comes to pass.

One lingering question remains: will ours be the generation in which He fulfills it? That depends on each one of us. Will we choose to yield our personal desires to the leadership of His Spirit and allow Him to once again astonish the world through us?

Jesus knocks at the door of His church. Perhaps it’s time we let Him back in.

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