• By Rev. Joseph A. Bias

A Story Worth Telling


“Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” 2 Timothy 4:2-4

As Jesus traveled throughout the region of Jerusalem and Judea, teaching and preaching the Gospel, demonstrating the power of God over sin, sickness and death, the people who followed Him held a hope that He was, and is the Messiah. The poor in particular found in Him a new hope for life, free from their poverty, sickness disease and hunger because they saw and experienced what He did, the miracles, the healings, the provisions, the power of His words over demons and death. The heard, they saw and many believed and received.

From feeding the five thousand and the four thousand to healing all who were sick and oppressed of the devil, Jesus brought to those who walked in darkness the light of hope and the promise of relief from oppression, freedom from sin, from the harshness of life under Roman rule and exploitation by the religious leaders who despised them.

Jesus brought a new power and authority over the works of darkness, over the destructions of Satan and his minions. Jesus moved against demonic possession and oppression, casting out demons and setting captives free. The people who followed Him and witnessed His works of healing, deliverance, restoration of sight, of speech, of hearing, of making the lame to walk and raising the dead, believed that He was the long hoped for Messiah who would finally raise Israel from under the heal of Rome and establish a new Kingdom on the earth with them as the ruling class under Jesus’ reign as King.

“And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, come unto him, saying, Master, we would that thou shouldest do for us whatsoever we shall desire. And he said unto them, What would ye that I should do for you? They said unto him, Grant unto us that we may sit, one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left hand, in thy glory.” Mark 10:35-37

Even the twelve saw Jesus as their King, their Messiah, who would overthrow the rule of their Roman oppressors, the evil kingdom of the secular world and set up His new kingdom on the earth.

But Jesus did not do what they expected and when they saw Him crucified and buried all their hope was dashed. But, then when they saw Him after His resurrection they were glad and in awe, but some were still shaken and unsure of the future. Jesus, knowing this, therefore, said to them, Touch me and feel the nail prints in my hands. Put your hand in my side. See and know that I am alive just as I said I would be.

For forty days after the resurrection He revealed himself to over 500 people who had hoped in His promise to rise again from the dead on the third day. In that time He sealed His Word in their hearts and revealed to them the certainty of faith in Him.

Finally, He met with the eleven and those with them in Jerusalem. He charged them to go forth and preach the Gospel to every creature, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, but to tarry in Jerusalem until they received power from on high. Then they would be His witnesses both near and far. As He ascended into Heaven while they looked on Him, He said to them, “Lo, I am with you always even to the end of the world.” {Matthew 28:16-20]

So, now for the disciples the focus turned to a day to come when they would receive power from on high. In the meantime they gathered together to pray and to wait. We now know they only had a few days, possibly a week to wait there in the upper room until on the Day of Pentecost the power that Jesus had promised came to rest onthem and inthem. But, we know little about what they did for the 50 days from the Resurrection until the Day of Pentecost.

What we do knowis that they somehow managed during that time to be gathered together in that room in one accord.

I believe most of us recognize that we, as the Church, are in a waiting period. We all sense that something universal is going on. Seismic cultural shifts, long-standing established denominations splitting over changes in cultural norms and moral boundaries, generational divides that threaten our most sacred relationships, institutions and fundamental Christian beliefs are occurring all around us.

Instead of drawing closer to one another in the unity of the faith some now contemplate even further diminishment into cult-like factions, each holding firmly to its declared position, with or without a grasp of Biblical truth to support them.

Despite what we are experiencing in this country we still hear of great revivals and of people coming to faith in Jesus Christ from disparately opposing religions in many parts of the world, particularly the poorer nations. Here at home in the United States, one of the richest and most affluent nations on the planet, politicians and pundits and those of the so-called learned classes seek the removal of all Christian values and ideals from the life of the nation in order to justify the acceptance of behavior, lifestyles and the domination of the powerful over the poor and weak, which God calls an abomination.

Even in the midst of these uncertain times there remains a remnant who have not bowed the knee to the modern day Baal, have not caved under the pressure of the morally corrupt and spiritually bankrupt agendas of the anti-Christian militants, who seek to silence our witness and the message of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ and Him alone.

Fear not, nor be dismayed. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad because Jesus will not be defeated now or ever. Sin will not have dominion over us, the devil will not win the victory, and death will not have the last word. Life and that more abundantly is the message we carry in our hearts and in our mouths. The Holy Spirit in us is making it so.

The message of the Gospel will be preached to all nations. God alone knows those who will receive Him and those who will reject His grace, but the choice rests completely with those who hear His call. Our part is to make him known whenever and wherever we can, “in season, out of season,”when it is convenient, when it is not convenient.

And remember always, God is patient and long-suffering, not wishing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing

that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9

Our hope is firmly grounded in the truth of God’s Word, and that Word will never fail. AMEN!


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