Grapes on the Vine, God's Abundant Provision for His People

A daily devotion for February 28th

What Difference Does It Make?

And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.

1 Corinthians 15:14

If Jesus rose from the dead, and there is one who has come back and told us what lies beyond, if Jesus did break the bonds of death and come out of the tomb on that first resurrection morning, and if all the simple story which is so artlessly told in the Scriptures is true, if it really happened, then what does it mean?

The most obvious thing is that it means that Jesus is still alive. He is still around, still available — this beautiful man who lived in such a way that he captivated the people of his day, and shook them to the core by the way he lived and things he said and did, by the compassion of his heart and the honesty of his life which would strip a religious hypocrite naked right before the eyes of a crowd, who could not abide falsehood and untruth but was always tender and loving and compassionate toward those bound up with their own guilt and problems, their own evil. If Jesus rose from the dead, he is still around, still available. He still can meet us in the same way. His promises, which he uttered, are valid promises: Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28) Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. (John 8:12b) Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (John 14:27)

This means that freedom from guilt, and power to conquer our failures and our weaknesses, are still available to men. And this has been the good news for twenty centuries — that in coming to Jesus Christ, men and women find ability to rise above this locked-in evil within us. And though we don't do it perfectly, and at times fall back into evil — for nobody yet has presented a perfect pattern in doing this except Jesus — nevertheless, the healing begins to take place. Changes occur, and life is different. If we begin to live in the power of Jesus' resurrection, in the fact of it, which God has set as the basis of life, we will learn to live in the world, right in the midst of it, right up to the hilt — not withdrawn, not isolated, not in a monastic experience — right in the midst of it, but on a different basis: drawing upon his forgiveness every day to recover from our failure, and to stand again accepted in his presence; drawing upon his strength by which to meet the demands which life throws at us, so that we are never suddenly caught short without adequate resources with which to respond; drawing upon his love, the grace of a risen Lord who knows us, understands us, and has made provision for our weakness and failure, and who picks us up again and carries us through — not away from the situation but right through the midst of it!

Thank you, Jesus, that you are alive and here with me, right in the midst of life, and that I can draw from your forgiveness, knowing I am accepted in your presence.

Life Application

Practice thanking Jesus for his living presence and power in your circumstances today. When and where do you most need to remember this truth?

This Daily Devotion was Inspired by one of Ray's Messages

What Difference Does it Make?

Listen to Ray