Only One risen Saviuor

Only One risen Saviuor
There is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved - Jesus

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Acts Day 13 - Replaceable?

1:15 And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples (altogether the number of names was about a hundred and twenty), and said, 16 “Men and brethren, this Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke before by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus; 17 for he was numbered with us and obtained a part in this ministry.”

18 (Now this man purchased a field with the wages of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his entrails gushed out. 19 And it became known to all those dwelling in Jerusalem; so that field is called in their own language, Akel Dama, that is, Field of Blood.)

20 “For it is written in the Book of Psalms:
‘Let his dwelling place be desolate,
And let no one live in it'.
‘Let another take his office.’

21 “Therefore, of these men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22 beginning from the baptism of John to that day when He was taken up from us, one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection.”

It's interesting as the Story unfolds how many details are discovered. Jesus had 12 disciples but many followers. In this room they are gathered in in Jerusalem while they wait for the Promise of His Spirit there are 120 people. The group is made up of the remaining 11 disciples, the unknown number of women who followed Jesus, His mother Mary, His four brothers, possibly His sisters which we don't know how many there were, and now we learn that there were several other men who also were followers of Jesus from the very beginning but not part of the twelve disciples.

There were hints of this sizable group throughout the four gospel accounts. We are told Jesus spent an entire night in prayer deciding which 12 men from among His followers would be the 12 disciples. Later in His ministry it says He sent out 70 people in pairs to do ministry. Clearly He had a much larger following than just 12 men.

Now Peter stands up in the group and declares it is time to appoint someone to fill the spot left vacant by the betrayal and subsequent suicide of Judas.

I do not imagine this was an easy moment. Judas had been with them for over 3 years. He was gifted and respected, even trusted. When they were sharing the Passover meal the night of the betrayal Jesus announced publicly that one of them would betray Him but none of them knew it was Judas. He was not some dark cloaked sinister imposter. He was one of them. They saw him as an equal. They believed he was as invested and sincere as they were. He even had the responsibility of handling the finances for this traveling ministry team. Given the numbers in the group this was a task of considerable responsibility. John, one of the gospel writers and one of the 12 disciples tells us Judas was stealing money from the group for himself but they never knew this until later. He was in every way one of them.

As a pastor and a human being I have seen with a front row seat what happens when betrayal is discovered. Emotional ties are real and strong. Friends do not want to believe that someone they loved and trusted did something evil, or hurtful, or underhanded. Sides are sometimes taken. It's never easy, or smooth, or pretty.

Peter stands up and says it's time to move forward and replace Judas. Those are not the exact words he uses but that is what he is saying. Can a person be replaced? Yes and never.

When it comes to role, position, function, and person can be replaced. When it comes to emotional ties no person can ever be replaced. There is only one me and one you. A lost spouse can be replaced in position and function etc... but never will they be that lost person nor should they try. A lost child is gone. Having another will never replace him or her. They can never be him or her. In fact they could have a personality very different from the child who died. Never should we seek to expect another person to fill the emotional void left by the loss of someone we loved. It can't be done.

Now consider this. There is only one you. God loves you with an everlasting love. You are inscribed on the palms of Jesus. If you reject Him, which you are free to do, God can find someone else to fulfill the purposes He had for you. What He can never do is replace you. A void will exist for eternity in the place you were to be. Like a lost mother, husband, child, brother nothing and no one can fill that empty space.

You are infinitely more valuable than the position or function you occupy. You are the only you and not even the Almighty can replace you nor does He want to. He wants you.

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