REPOST Today’s AMI QT blog, written by Pastor Mark Chun of Radiance Christian Church in S.F., was originally posted on March 28, 2013; it has been updated. Mark is a graduate of University of California, San Diego (BS) and Talbot School of Theology (M.Div.).
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“The Great Paradox of the Christian Faith”
I will extol you, O Lord, for you have drawn me up and have not let my foes rejoice over me. 2 O Lord my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me. 3 O Lord, you have brought up my soul from Sheol; you restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit. 4 Sing praises to the Lord, O you his saints, and give thanks to his holy name. 5 For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.
Every year, when we draw closer to Good Friday and Easter Sunday, we are always reminded of the great paradox of the Christian faith: that we all must endure momentary suffering in order to experience the everlasting joy of God’s healing and favor. Henri Nouwen, in his great book by the same name, asks each of us “Can you drink the cup?”
In Matthew 20:20-23, Jesus puts this question to his disciples and makes the implication that the answer is both yes and no. The image of the cup is telling in that it is both wine and blood, a symbol of freedom and obedience, of joy and suffering, and the promise of eternal life only after the anguish of death. Although we will never be able to comprehend the depth of Christ’s pain or the height of His exaltation, this psalm reminds us that Christ’s experience is our own in part.
In describing our own lives, Nouwen writes, “Drinking the cup of life is fully appropriating and internalizing our own unique existence, with all its sorrows and joys.” As you drink from the Lord’s cup this Easter season, I pray that you might taste his sorrow but be filled by his joy.
Take time this morning to consider all that Christ has done for you. Reflect on how He is turning your mourning into dancing.
Prayer: Lord, words cannot adequately express the gratitude of my soul as I look to the blood stained cross and the empty tomb. May your death and resurrection be the source of strength during difficult times and the fountain of living water during times of celebration. Help me to experience the Gospel and all its life giving power. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Micah 5
Lunch Break Study
Read Philippians 3:10 (NIV): I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death.
Questions to Consider
- What does it mean to know Christ? (Phil 3:8-9)
- How can we experience the power of the resurrection?
- When will we experience the fullness of this power? (1 Thess. 4:13-18)
There are so many things in the world that compete for the believer’s affection but our relationship with Jesus is of paramount importance because it is the very key to life.
- To know Christ is to gain Him and to be found in Him. For Paul, he had worked all his life to gain his accomplishments and his identity was wrapped up completely in his success. Knowing Christ meant shifting his pursuit and having his new relationship with Jesus shape his entire identity.
- The power of the resurrection is experienced by every believer who realizes that their old life has passed away and faith in Christ represents the beginnings of their new life (2 Corinthians 5:17). However, this only represents the beginning of the believer’s experience with the power of the resurrection.
- During this life we will progressively experience this power as we are empowered to overcome sin, grow in Christ-like character, and minister with the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Ultimately, it is at the return of Christ when we will experience the full reality of the resurrection as our physical bodies themselves undergo transformation.
Did you sense the nearness of Christ today? How are you preparing your heart for 2021?