WHAT IF?

Activated - - NEWS - By Keith Phillips Keith Phillips was Ac­ti­vated’s editor-in-chief for 14 years from 1999 to 2013. He and his wife Caryn now work with the home­less in the U.S.A.

Ma­hatma Gandhi (1869– 1948) is quoted as say­ing, “I know of no one who has done more for hu­man­ity than Je­sus.” Much of the world, Chris­tian and non-Chris­tian alike, would agree. Yet have you ever con­sid­ered how the world wouldn’t have been changed for the bet­ter if Je­sus’ dis­ci­ples hadn’t told oth­ers what they had seen and heard and learned with Je­sus? The teach­ings of His life would have stopped with them.

Re­mem­ber, Je­sus’ three-year pub­lic min­istry wasn’t doc­u­mented by daily news­pa­per re­ports or sent around the world by 24-hour TV cov­er­age or so­cial me­dia, as it no doubt would be to­day. How many peo­ple, do you sup­pose, ever saw the mir­a­cles Je­sus per­formed or heard Him speak?—Fifty thou­sand?—One hun­dred thou­sand? How many saw Him die on the cross?—A few hun­dred, per­haps. How many did He ap­pear to af­ter He rose from the dead on Easter morn­ing?—A lit­tle over 500, we are told in 1 Corinthi­ans 15:4–6.

Je­sus did what only He could do—He died for our sins—but His dis­ci­ples also did what only they could do. They kept His mes­sage alive.

What if, af­ter Je­sus’ death, Si­mon Peter and his fel­low for­mer-fish­er­men dis­ci­ples had gone back per­ma­nently to their fish­ing? 1 What if Matthew had gone back to col­lect­ing taxes? What if doubt­ing Thomas had con­tin­ued to doubt? What if the dis­ci­ples hadn’t obeyed Je­sus’ fi­nal in­struc­tion be­fore His as­cen­sion to wait for the prom­ise of the Fa­ther, the Holy Spirit, and re­ceived “power from heaven”? 2

2 How many mil­lions would have died with­out know­ing the Sav­ior? Would we even have the gospel to­day?

As we cel­e­brate Je­sus’ res­ur­rec­tion this Easter, let’s also cel­e­brate the Holy Spirit’s power and those who kept the gospel alive by shar­ing Je­sus with oth­ers. It was up to them. Now it’s up to us.

1. See John 21:2–3.

2. Luke 24:49 NLT

And then [Je­sus] told them, "Go into all the world and preach the Good News to ev­ery­one."— Mark 16:15 NLT

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