A Divine Partnership


‘And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.’

After the Lord 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 with the signs that accompanied it. (Mark 16: 17-20)

That was a lot to swallow for eleven men who had just emerged from the most traumatic time of their lives. No grief could have compared with the grief of losing their Master in such an unexpected and violent manner. Oh, He has warned them it was coming alright – more than once – but they had refused to take Him seriously. When it happened, they were devastated and traumatised into numbness and unbelief.

Then, on top of that, He rose from the dead, reversing their emotions and overwhelming them with joy with as much shock as the grief that had hit them like a freight train when He died. They could hardly keep up with the events of the forty days after He came back to them. Perhaps they thought that He would stay with them this time because death could no longer affect Him but no, He came and went with such unexpectedness that they were left bewildered and even more alone than before His death.

But there was a progression in His appearances and instructions. He was conditioning them for a major shift in both their understanding and experience. Just as He had promised, He would finally withdraw His physical presence from them forever but He would not leave them fatherless. Although there is no record of the Spirit’s coming in Mark, (he left that for Luke to tell in the sequel to his gospel), what followed Jesus’ ascension was eloquent testimony to something far more supernatural than just their proclamation about His death and resurrection.

How else can we explain the things that accompanied their preaching? Miracles just don’t happen unless God is actively confirming His promises to them and working with them in a divine/human partnership which has one goal in view, to authenticate their story with supernatural confirmation. But there had to be a bridge between the natural and the supernatural – faith!

Who were the “those who believe”? It could refer to one of two groups of people or to both; those who believe and are baptised whom Jesus said would be saved, or those who believe and do all the things He said they would do. The one would follow the other.

Saved? What does that mean? Saved from what? In our modern-day thinking and preaching, we imply that we are saved from hell. Is that what Jesus meant? Salvation is far more than a rescue plan from hell. Life, from the Biblical point of view, is a journey, like Israel’s migration from Egypt to the Promised Land. God has given directions for the way to keep us from getting lost in the wilderness – His Word. If we stay on the path by obeying His instructions, we will reach our destination which Jesus said is the Father.

Thomas said to Him, ‘Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way? Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’ (John 14:5-6)

Salvation is, in its simplest definition returning to God’s way so that we can reach our destination. God has placed landmarks on our journey, opportunities to imitate our Master so that we can become like Him in being merciful and generous to those who cross our path. Salvation, then in the journey, the process by which, through the Holy Spirit we are being transformed into the likeness of Jesus.

This includes both the opportunities to bring healing to others and God’s protection from the deadly intentions of the devil. The Holy Spirit in us is Jesus’ personal presence, His “other self”, not to give us spiritual “goose bumps” but to get the job done. We will encounter obstacles on our journey – situations which could harm us and prevent us from continuing and reaching our goal. Our confidence in our divine “partner” will see us through and enable us to demonstrate the reality of God’s kingdom here and now, just as Jesus did during His time on earth as a both a Jewish rabbi and the Son of God.

If we really get it, this is not big deal. We are not here to show how gifted we are, or to elevated ourselves with titles instead of getting on with the job. Like Jesus, we are here to serve and to lay down our lives for the sake of others. Recognition and accolades are not the incentive or the purpose but getting the job done by showing how real God’s ways are by cooperating with the Holy Spirit in showing the world who God the Father really is.

That takes confidence in Jesus to make good on everything He promised.

Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Have you read my new book, Learning to be a Son – The Way to the Father’s Heart (Copyright © 2015, Partridge Publishing)? You’ll love it!

Available on www.amazon.com in paperback, e-book or kindle version or order directly from the publisher at www.partridgepublishing.com.

Watch this space. My second book, Learning to be a Disciple – The Way of the Master (Copyright © 2015, Partridge Publishing), companion volume to Learning to be a Disciple – The Way of the Master, will soon be on the bookshelves.

Check out my Blog site – www.learningtobeason.wordpress.com




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Luella Campbell

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