Hello Monday, folks! I hope that your weekend was refreshing and that your Sunday left you full with worship and the Word. Two of my college kids came home for spring break which means lots of home-cooking, old friends coming in and out and late game and movie nights (I usually hear the remnants from my bedroom because I cannot keep up!). So this week will shift a bit for us as we enjoy two college boys home for the week.
I am reading – as many of you are — chronologically through the four gospels right now in 100 Days with Christ (you can get this free resource by subscribing here). As I read through the life of Christ, I’m struck once again by how packed to the full Jesus’ earthly ministry was.
In his three-year ministry, Jesus circulates through the Galilean villages, through the countryside and Judean desert, and travels up to Jerusalem and back for the feasts, always engaging, teaching, healing, doing miracles. He interacts with family, followers, leaders, enemies, the curious, the desperate, the indifferent and He fulfills perfectly the law of righteousness in His obedience, in His death and resurrection.
But even all that’s recorded in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John is just a small slice of what Jesus did on earth. John tells us that if everything Jesus did was written down, not even the whole world would have room for the books that would be written. That’s a lot of ministry. A lot of works.
But, remarkably, it is just the beginning.
Last week, I came upon a verse that was like uncovering a hidden gem. It was a truth I knew, but not quite in the way or to the extent this verse showed it.
This power-packed gem is in Acts 1:1, where after finishing the gospel of Luke, Luke introduces his reader to Acts, writing:
“In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach until the day he was taken up to heaven . . .” [Acts 1:1-2]
And there it is: the gospels were only the beginning of all that Jesus works. Luke is telling us something huge. This had to have been big news to the early believers.
The work of Christ was not done. Yes, He had ascended back to heaven. Yes, His redemptive work was complete. But His earthly ministry — all of his teaching, his engaging, his drawing people to himself, his miracles — all that was recorded in the gospels and the countless things He did that the books of this world would be unable to hold — all of that, was just the beginning.
His work has continued through every age, up to here and now, in this generation, and will continue until His full purpose is achieved and He comes again. His earthly ministry was not the finale but the foundation.
“After the foundation has been laid a lofty temple must be reared upon it. And the builder of that temple is Christ the Lord. When he ascended from the Mount of Olives, a way was opened from earth to heaven; but a multitude whom no man can number must be led by it into glory: and none can lead them but himself, the Captain of their salvation, the Bishop of their souls.” William Arnot
That is huge news for us. Because the last sentence of the last gospel is not the close of Christ’s work on earth. It marks a transition but it does not mark an end.
Christ is just as much at work today, here, in your life and mine as He was in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
Maybe that’s old news for you. But realizing that all of Christ’s work recorded in the gospels is only the beginning — well, that is paradigm shifting for me.
Because here is the impact: Christ has chosen to use us – frail and imperfect and struggling – to carry out His eternal purposes for this day, for this generation.
It’s not that we carry out some ideas and principles that Jesus implemented as if he was the founder of some great charity work and we are left to continue on.
Christ himself is at work. And that work is done through us — through our words, our feet, our hands, our going, our submitting, our prayer, our responding.
We cannot tack Christ onto our agenda today. He IS our agenda. Or maybe it’s better said like this: WE are HIS agenda.
Just as surely as Christ was at work in His 33 years of earthly ministry, Christ is at work in this generation. Do I see him? Do I hear him? Am I yielding to the work Christ wills to do this day through me? That is the kind of truth that helps me put feet to floor on a Monday and every day after.
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**This is part of the devotional series Hello, Happy Monday! I love to instagram a #hellohappymondays picture on Monday and I’d love for you to join as well. I’ll search for you and your #hellohappymondays tag.
Betsy de Cruz says
I love your Hello Mondays posts. It’s changed a bit my negative thoughts about Monday! 🙂 How amazing to reflect and think about the fact that Jesus’ earthly ministry was just a beginning. And what we’ve seen Him do in our own lives? Just the beginning!
Lisa Appelo says
Yes, it’s good to know that Monday is the second day and that we’ve already conquered the first day on Sunday! Thank you, Betsy.
Lois Flowers says
Much to ponder here, Lisa. Especially this: “Christ has chosen to use us – frail and imperfect and struggling – to carry out His eternal purposes for this day, for this generation.” It helps to remember this when my assignment for today is to do the next thing. Because only God knows what the next thing might lead to, both for me and for those around me. I hope you have a wonderful week with those college boys at home. 🙂
Lisa Appelo says
That’s a great agenda, Lois — to do the next thing. The house is stocked with food and my littles are super happy to have some big brothers back home (and to put books away for a few days). 🙂 Thank you!
Tiffany Parry says
Such encouragement, Lisa – Christ’s work is done through us. It really puts feet to the work we lay down when we know that He is in it. He’s gone before and He works still. Thanks for this … even on a Tuesday. 🙂